The Portuguese women’s national volleyball team is scheduled to play against Cyprus this week in Nicosia, vying for a spot in EuroVolley 2023, but the stakes for Wednesday’s match are not without politics after efforts by the guests to book accommodation in the north were blocked by the south.
According to media reports, the women’s national volleyball from Portugal had scheduled a flight to Ercan, north Nicosia, where they planned to stay in a hotel and cross over to the south only to play their matches in the EuroVolley 2023 qualifiers.
But media reported that the president of the Cyprus Volleyball Association, Michalis Krashias, opposed the Portugal team’s plans and requested they fly to Larnaca and stay in the south.
The Portuguese team was reportedly told there would be no buses available to transport them from the checkpoint to the match location in the south, including their entrance into the athletic center
According to Turkish Cypriot media outlet Kibris Postasi, the Cypriot foreign ministry also got involved after the team insisted on the plans to fly to Ercan, an airport not recognized as a Point of Entry by the Republic of Cyprus.
Initial statements by officials suggested the Portuguese team was after low prices in the north and had no political motivations in the game.
Krashias reportedly issued an ultimatum to the Portuguese team, saying they would have to land either in Larnaca or Paphos otherwise the volleyball players would not be welcome.
The Portuguese team was also reportedly told that there would be no buses available to transport them from the checkpoint to the match location in the south, including their entrance into the athletic center.
According to media reports, the Portuguese teams had made arrangements to fly to the south, where they are expected to play against Cyprus on Wednesday.
Portugal is in the same group with Cyprus, Ukraine, and Hungary, with some of the games taking place abroad in neutral countries and other matches on the island.
On Saturday Cyprus lost 3:0 to Ukraine during a match in the Czech Republic while on the same day Hungary beat Portugal with the same score.
In addition to Cyprus playing against Portugal on Wednesday, Ukraine will go against Hungary on the same day, with the top winner and second place in Pool C qualifying for EuroVolley 2023.
Back in May, Krashias ran for parliament on a center party ticket, while in late 2021 he announced that the Republic of Cyprus would be co-hosting the 2024 edition of #EuroVolleyU17W together with Greece.
“Cypriot Volleyball will be a pole of attraction and in this way we will be able to involve more children in our sport. Cyprus will be the centre of European Volleyball during the championship,” Krashias told a conference back in October.