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21 April, 2024
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Hooligans force suspension of Alphamega stadium match

President's intervention fails to prevent football match disruption


The events that unfolded on the evening of Wednesday, January 24, at Limassol's ''Alphamega'' stadium during the football match between Apollon and AEL have exposed the authorities as powerless. Despite efforts by political leaders, the Cyprus Football Association, and the police, they were unable to control the hooligans, and once again, fan violence took center stage.

Intervention by Christodoulides - The game was suspended
Following the intervention of the President of the Republic and the Minister of Justice, the decision was made to suspend the football match between Apollon and AEL.

Mr. Christodoulides promptly contacted Justice Minister Mario Hartzis after the initial disturbances. Subsequently, Mr. Hartzis spoke with the match's chief police officer, directly inquiring if he could guarantee a smooth progression of the match, given the events that occurred about ten minutes before kickoff.

According to Presidential sources, the police official responded negatively, leading the minister to instruct him to convey this to the referee. Consequently, the referee decided to postpone the match.

On Monday, January 22, several measures were announced to combat fan violence
- Strengthening law enforcement measures at matches and conducting thorough checks on all those entering sports venues by the police. The police now have the authority to determine the arrival time of fans for specific matches.
- Reviewing the operation of Fan Clubs nationwide and issuing closure orders where necessary.
- In cases where concerns arise about the safe conduct or continuation of a match, the police will apply existing legislation and recommend non-commencement or interruption.

Just twenty-four hours later, we witnessed disgraceful scenes, including an exchange of "fire" outside the stadium, fans invading the playing area, and flares and fireworks in the stands, endangering lives.

Street battles and fireworks outside the stadium
Hooligans created a war-like scene outside the stadium, revealing their intentions an hour before the match as they threw stones, flares, fireworks, and other dangerous objects. The situation briefly calmed down with the intervention of the police force, and the anti-riot vehicle "Ajax" also appeared outside the stadium.

Disgrace and chaos
The climax of the disturbances occurred just minutes before kickoff when AEL fans invaded the playing area, throwing fireworks towards the stands where Apollon fans were located. A poignant image captured by the camera showed a firework landing next to small children, causing terror.

In response, Apollon fans entered the playing area, further escalating the situation. Subsequently, members of the police force entered the stadium, compelling fans of both teams to leave the playing area. After their departure, the police lined up in front of the organized fans' stands until the fate of the match was decided.

In the end, after a meeting, the football match never started because the police couldn't guarantee its smooth progression.

The images we witnessed once again bring shame. Hooligans wreaked havoc, passionate fans tarnished sports amid the implemented measures, and no one was able to stop them.

Cyprus  |  chaos  |  sport  |  football  |  match

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