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    Argentina's fans run away from tear gas as they clash with riot police in Buenos Aires after Argentina's World Cup loss to Germany | Photo: Reuters

Published 13 March 2018

FIFA said it "now expects appropriate measures to be taken, and rapidly."

FIFA is sending officials to Greece to discuss soccer unrest, the sport's governing body said Tuesday, amid a gun controversy that prompted the indefinite suspension of the championship.

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"FIFA demands an uncompromising and robust approach in exterminating all forms of violent acts in soccer," Vassallo said in a letter to Greek deputy minister for sports Yiorgos Vassiliadis.

FIFA director for Europe Bjorn Vassallo said a delegation would travel to Athens later Tuesday to discuss the latest crisis, which began Sunday when the president of Greek club PAOK, Ivan Savvidis, stormed the pitch with a holstered gun strapped to his waist.

Greek-Russian businessman Savvidis apologized for his actions Tuesday, but the European club association said it was suspending PAOK as a member with immediate effect. "I am very sorry for what happened. I clearly had no right to enter the field of play in this fashion," Savvidis said in a statement.

Savvidis was on the run for 24 hours after an arrest warrant was issued following Sunday's incident.

FIFA is demanding swift results in the attempt to restore order, the latest in years of initiatives to stamp out violence and murky dealings in Greece's most popular sport.

Savvidis himself said on Tuesday that Greek soccer is "completely sick."

"Despite attacks at all levels, I will continue to fight for fair soccer and honorable refereeing in all matches, so that games are won on the pitch and not in courtrooms," he said.

Deputy sports minister Vassiliadis had said after an emergency meeting with Tsipras that the league would "not start again without a new framework agreed by all."

Vassiliadis said the government was in close contact with European football body UEFA, which he said had been "shocked" by the incident.

He did not rule out the prospect of Greek clubs sitting out next season's European competitions but insisted the national team would not be affected.

FIFA said it "now expects appropriate measures to be taken, and rapidly." It warned a failure to take action "to eradicate" violence could lead to the suspension of the Greek association from the sport's governing body.

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