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Our View: If the CFA cannot handle the fan ID cards, then who can?

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NOTHING could illustrate the heightened sense of irresponsibility that plagues Cyprus life more than the Cyprus Football Federation’s (CFA) decision not to take charge of the fan ID card, which the government wants to introduce as a way combating hooliganism.

The CFA, which was handed the responsibility for implementing the card by the state, issued a statement on Wednesday saying: “The body decided that, under the current climate, we do not wish to take on the responsibility of implementing the fan card. The CFA does not wish to be entangled in any political confrontation or become mixed up with party interests.”

As far as childish excuses are concerned, this is in a league of its own. The CFA, football’s ruling body in Cyprus, does not want to take charge of a measure aimed at clamping down on violence and hooliganism at football matches, because it does not wish to become involved in a political row.

We are thus to deduce that dealing with violence at football matches is no longer the responsibility of the football authorities. Unfortunately, the CFA did not propose who should administer the fan ID card, so we could understand whom it thinks should help tackle football violence, a problem that is clearly not the responsibility of the CFA. Should the fan card perhaps be under the authority of Unficyp, the Bar Association or the Securities and Exchange Commission, as the CFA does not wish to take charge?

Some have tried to justify this incredible decision by arguing that the CFA is made up of the football clubs which want to keep their supporters, the majority of whom are opposed to the ID card, happy. Supporters’ groups want to safeguard their members’ anonymity, presumably so they could not be tracked down and punished when they are throwing rocks at rivals, starting fires or smashing car windows.

Even the argument that ID cards were not needed because most violence takes place outside stadiums is disingenuous. The ID card would enable the authorities to ban troublemakers from entering a football ground, a punishment imposed by the courts that is impossible to enforce without fan cards. Even more disingenuous has been Akel which does not want the CFA to handle the fan card because it is a private legal entity that should not have access to people’s personal data; it wants the Cyprus Sports Federation (KOA) to be in charge of the card because it is a state body and could be trusted to handle personal data.

These are cheap excuses that cannot hide the fact that the Cyprus Football Association would rather see football violence spread than fight it and alienate supporters’ groups and the clubs, which, disgracefully, want to protect their hooligans. This is why the CFA cannot possibly take responsibility for a measure aimed at fighting violence in the sport that it administers.

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