Cyprus Mail

Fans charged over Cup final violence (updated)

Three Limassol men were charged on Thursday in connection with fan violence, which caused the temporary interruption of the Cyprus Cup final that took place in Larnaca.

The men, aged 19, 23, and 30, were arrested during the trouble that broke out on Wednesday at the GSZ stadium in the 6oth minute of the game between Nicosia side APOEL and AEL of Limassol. APOEL won the game 4-2.

The three pleaded not guilty to charges of rioting, assault, and swearing in public. The court adjourned until September 11.

In the meantime they have been banned from attending any sports events until the start of their trial.

They have been ordered to report to the nearest police station where they will remain for the duration of any game AEL play – be it football, basketball, volleyball or other.

The fans posted a €2,000 bail.

The trouble started after an hour of play when the Nicosia side scored their fourth goal.

AEL supporters occupying the main stand started hurling pieces of concrete broken off the terrace, flares, and plastic seats on the pitch. They also torched seats and caused other damage to the stadium.

The referee interrupted the game for around 45 minutes.

A police officer was treated in hospital for light injuries to the hand.

The game restarted just after 9pm after the AEL fans creating the trouble left the stadium following the intervention of the riot police. The three were arrested during this time.

During their departure, AEL fans lit fires outside the GSZ and the highway to Limassol.

The fire service had to scramble eight vehicles with 25 fire fighters to tackle 12 fires set by AEL fans.

At around 9.30pm, and while police were lined up in front of the APOEL stand, someone, possibly using a (flare) gun, fired a flare, which injured an officer who suffered slight burns to his throat.

Police rejected criticism about the way it handled the affair.

It was “tragic” to say the least, to blame the police for the antisocial behaviour of a large number of APOEL and AEL fans, spokesman Andreas Angelides said, responding to a statement from the Nicosia team.

APOEL censured the police for lining up the riot squad in front of their fans when it was the AEL supporters creating the trouble. The club described the force’s security plan as “tragic”.

It also charged that some officers returned the objects thrown at them, putting underage children and families in danger. 

Angelides said officers were lined up in front of the stand because at one section the APOEL fans had opened a hole on the fence.

“They had no other choice but to line officers in front of the APOEL stand to prevent entry onto the pitch,” Angelides said.

 Regarding the rest of the maters raised by APOEL, Angelides said the issue was being looked into.

“Police investigations continue with the aim of locating more people involved” in the violence, Angelides said.


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