By George Psyllides
THE Cyprus Football Association (CFA) has partially lifted a spectator ban from games held at Limassol’s Tsirion stadium after receiving assurances from experts that its stands were structurally sound.
The CFA said it has received a letter from the stadium’s engineer saying it was structurally sound and that the problems that appeared in the east stand were of secondary importance and were being tackled by the authorities.
The association said it has decided to allow spectators on the west stand and maintain a ban on the east side until the engineers assured the CFA that repair work had been completed.
Earlier this week, the CFA banned spectators from games held at the Tsirion following an announcement by the island’s technical chamber ETEK concerning the state of the spectator stands.
ETEK said on Thursday that it had been forced to go public with the issue after an April 10 letter to the authorities remained without response.
“Unfortunately no reply was received by lunchtime Monday, April 14, and it was decided, for public safety reasons, to publicise the matter,” ETEK chairman Stelios Achniotis said.
The Limassol municipality, under whose jurisdiction the stadium falls, rejected claims about the stands’ structural adequacy and suggested there were other reasons behind the furore.
It said on Wednesday that it had been taken aback by the emergence of the matter at a moment that coincides with the end of the football championship.
The decision came at a critical point in the Cyprus league as title favourites AEL and contenders Apollon, which both play in the Tsirion, enter the final stretch, with seven games remaining.
The next game at Tsirion is scheduled for next Wednesday, April 23.
The CFA rejected claims that its ban was driven by other expediencies.
“The only expediency was the people’s safety and nothing else,” it said.