By Constantinos Psillides
A 31-year old man from Limassol district is the first person to be processed under the controversial football hooligan law, after police caught him trying to enter the grounds during an Apollon-Lokomotiv Moscow match last Thursday, without a ticket.
According to a police report, the man appeared before Limassol District Court yesterday, where he was charged in a fast-track procedure with attempt to illegally gain access to a football ground.
Under the new, sterner legislation, the 31-year old had to post a €1,000 bail, give up his travel documents and had his name placed on a stop-list. He is also forbidden from entering a football stadium until his case is heard.
To that effect, he is required to appear ten minutes before every Apollon game to a police station where he will remain for the duration of the game.
The hearing is set for Thursday.
While the man will appear for a misdemeanour, under the new legislation he might be banned from entering any sports grounds for up to six months. A repeat offence could lead to a year-long ban.
The new legislation was voted earlier in the month, under heavy opposition by AKEL who protested that the new laws were draconian in nature. AKEL specifically protested the “fan-card”, an identification that all sports fan must register for if they wish to buy tickets for any sporting event. AKEL claimed that the “fan-card” is a way for police to keep tabs on football supporters. Organised fan clubs also protested the new legislation.
The fan-card is scheduled to take effect from January 1, 2015. Anyone not registered as a fan will not be able to buy tickets for any sporting event.