Updated January 25th, 2024 at 12:11 IST

Cyprus Cup match called off after fans storm field and throw flares

A Cyprus Cup game between perennial Limassol rivals Apollon and AEL was called off Wednesday after some fans ran onto the field and hurled flares at each other before kickoff.

Cyprus Cup | Image:AP
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A Cyprus Cup game between perennial Limassol rivals Apollon and AEL was called off Wednesday after some fans ran onto the field and hurled flares at each other before kickoff.

Stewards at Limassol’s brand-new Alpha Mega stadium struggled to corral fans ahead of the match, resulting in riot police rushing in to try to restore order.

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The referee called off the match because police couldn’t guarantee safety, a Cyprus Football Association statement said.

Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides condemned the “unacceptable” behavior and said “this cannot be allowed to continue.”

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Apollon said in a statement that the decision to abandon the match was a “political” one and that it awaits the reasons why it was made since it was known that the contest would be a high-risk affair.

The drama comes just days after renewed pledges by police and the Cyprus FA to take stepped-up measures to stop violence at soccer matches.

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Last Friday, the Cyprus FA banned all away team fans for the rest of the season following a spike in violence at games, including an incident in which a firecracker struck a player during a cup match between league leader APOEL Nicosia and Nea Salamina.

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Published January 25th, 2024 at 12:11 IST