Five police officers were injured on Friday night during a basketball game between AEL and Apollon in their mutual home turf of Limassol, which marred by the kind of violence usually seen at football games in Cyprus.
The game was interrupted a few seconds before the end after AEL fans started assaulting Apollon’s coaches and bench players, storming into the court in their hundreds. While about 300 AEL supporters caused trouble on the basketball court, others threw objects into the arena, aiming at police officers, authorities said.
From the five officers injured, four were taken to Limassol General Hospital. Two had neck injuries and one a knee injury and have all been given medical leave while a fourth officer who was hurt on the head has been held over for treatment, police said.
Authorities are mulling a bill to allow the police chief to ban people who cause trouble in matches, with hooligans – usually during football games – readily assaulting each other and police. The justice ministry has said that with trouble even during friendly matches, police needed to take firmer action from training to installing undercover officers during games. With police staff shortages, monitoring every single game on the island is an impossible task, but authorities hope that banning troublemakers from stadiums could help. The justice ministry has said they are looking at software to identify trouble makers, which are often lost in the crowds and never arrested.