Cyprus Mail
Crime Cyprus

OMONIA complains to CFA over racist chanting

By Evie Andreou
OMONIA has complained to the Cyprus Football Association (CFA) after one of its players was subjected to racial abuse during the team’s clash with APOEL on Sunday.
During the match OMONOIA’s Mickaël Poté was provoked by the opposite team’s fans who pretended to be monkeys. When Poté returned the gesture to fans the referee booked him.
However, OMONIA protested the referee failed to protect the player from the racist behaviour and restore order in the stands.
The incident began 68 minutes into the game by APOEL fans seated in the southern stands and spread to the west and east stands. After two minutes of intense provocation, the player mimicked them and then kissed his arm, showing that he had no problem with his colour.
“His decision to punish Mickaël Poté gave the fans with the racist behaviour satisfaction that they achieved their goal,” OMONIA said.
OMONOIA’s press representative Andreas Demetriou said the game’s referee, Demetris Masias, did not register in his report that there was provocation from the fans and now the football club is waiting to see if the referee’s judicator reported it in his.
“Based on CFA’s 2014 disciplinary rules, the referee has the right to interrupt the game in case of racist behaviour… the referee did not record anything in his report, nor did the replacement referee Thomas Mouskos who was standing in the line in front of the southern stands when the racist jeers began,” the club said.
APOEL vice-president Vassos Eliades has condemned the incident and so did player Gustavo Manduca, who posted on social media that what happened at the match was a disgrace.
However OMONIA said they felt they had to respond to APOEL press representative Charalambos Prountzos who wrote on Facebook page that he had not heard any APOEL fans making monkey noises and that OMONOIA reacted in the way it had to direct fans away from the football club’s known problems.
OMONIA is currently in dire financial straits as it has a €20m debt.
“Unfortunately some actions are not aligned with football or APOEL’s history. We condemn it and the club will be called to face the consequences of its fans’ actions,” APOEL spokesman Nekatrios Petevinos said.
He added that APOEL is a member of the FARE network that works with UEFA to tackle racism in football.
“This year we were congratulated by UEFA for our fans’ good behaviour during our team’s European matches. It’s a shame that this effort is overshadowed by such behaviours,” Petevinos said.
One long-time APOEL fan has reportedly said he was present when the incident began and he would name three people that kept calling racist slogans and jeered, and said that if the club does not expel them he will return his season ticket.

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