Flag row strains Schalke, PAOK relations
Tensions between Schalke 04 and PAOK officials have escalated ahead of Tuesday's Champions League play-off second leg with the Germans accusing the Greeks of poor behaviour.
Schalke were held to a 1-1 home draw by PAOK on Wednesday at Gelsenkirchen's Veltins Arena, but tempers frayed after the first leg of the tie was blighted by crowd trouble, which PAOK officials could have done more to avoid, according to the German club.
More than a hundred riot police were deployed into the Schalke block to remove a flag of the ultra supporters of Macedonian first division club Vardar Skopje -- which had been flown by German fans to provoke the visiting Greek supporters due to the tensions between Greece and Macedonia.
After the stadium's security guards failed to remove the offending flag, German police officers used batons and pepper spray to remove it with around 30 supporters injured.
But Schalke board member Peter Peters said PAOK officials should have warned them about potential trouble.
"If such a flag can create so much turmoil, it is the duty of those responsible to point that out early in the mandatory safety meetings," said Peters.
"In the tense atmosphere of a game is completely the wrong time.
"Schalke 04 could not have known that (about the flag)."
Schalke's officials have taken the unusual step of refusing to attend the pre-match banquet between the two sets of club officials before Tuesday's return leg at PAOK's Stadio Toumba in Salonika in protest.
Peters said the Greek officials are equally unhappy with their Schalke counterparts.
"We have enormous problems with their behaviour," he said.
"Their fans' anger had a significant potential threat and they could have done far more to calm their supporters, who have a reputation for being problematic.
"Instead they busied themselves with accusing Schalke, that is not sporting behaviour and is not acceptable."