Cyprus Warns Of Total Ban On Fans In Soccer Matches

Himalaya Times
Read Time = 2 mins

Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides warned on Saturday that the government will impose a total ban on the presence of fans in football matches if violence in stadiums does not come to an end.

A ban on away fans had been already announced on Friday following an incident on Tuesday in which a flare thrown by an away fan in the stands landed on a substitute player of the home team standing on the sidelines.

The player was seen on video falling on the ground and clutching his head. He was hospitalized with dizziness and a partial loss of hearing of his left ear.

Christodoulides said that he communicated with the Cyprus Football Association (CFA) president, Georgios Koumas, telling him to give a warning to football clubs.

"We cannot tolerate this situation any longer and the intention of the state is, if this state of affairs is not ended, all matches will be played without the presence of fans," Christodoulides told reporters, according to Cyprus' state CyBC radio.

The ban on away fans will come into force as of January 26 and will stay in place until the end of the championships and Cup tournaments.

On that day, the two clubs which were playing a Cup fixture when the flare incident happened, Nea Salamina and APOEL, will meet again in a championships match.

The Cup match was abandoned after the flare incident and its fate will be decided by a sports judge.

Violence and unruly behavior by fans is relatively frequent in Cyprus, and the properties of several referees or their relatives have fallen victim to bomb attacks.

Although banned, flares and firecrackers are used by people on the stands.

The Ministry of Justice and Public Order introduced legislation in parliament on Thursday, imposing stiffer penalties for sports-related violence, including a ban on access to stadiums of up to 10 years for repeat offenders.

The Pancyprian Footballers Association (PASP) renewed a call to authorities to take measures to protect players on the field.

PASP chairman Spyros Neophitides told CyBC radio on Saturday that "what is happening in soccer fields is unbelievable, it is more than frustrating."


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