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MPs in hard tackle over football hooligans

Justice minister Ionas Nicolaou

By Constantinos Psillides

A BILL aimed at tackling football hooliganism will be put to a plenary vote on the last day of parliament before the summer break on Thursday, Justice minister Ionas Nicolaou said yesterday.

Asked whether the Justice ministry considers delaying the bill in favour offurther discussion on some hotly debated issues, such as the fan card and the clubs being billed for policing, Nicolaou made it clear that the bill is a package deal and no provisions would be excluded.

“Lifting anonymity is a major component of this bill,” he said, adding that if the bill is not voted before the House goes to a summer recess then the new legal frame will be applied next January, with half the championship matches already played.

“If we vote the bill next week, we will be ready to implement it by September, before the championship begins.”

The first game in the Cyprus top football league will be played on September 23.

The fan card, an identification every sport fan has to register for in order to be able to buy tickets for sporting events, is opposed by all organised fans who consider it as a backdoor for police to keep tabs on them. Both AKEL and EDEK MPs asked for further discussion on the subject.

Committee chairman Soteris Sampson said that there are still disagreements on some of the bill’s provisions, despite the fact that everyone agrees that hooliganism must be tackled with.

Sampson said that DISY supports the bill and are of the opinion that is should be put to a plenum vote on July 10.
Discussion on the bill will continue on Monday.

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