Between January and mid-March, around 100 football teams, mainly from Russia, are expected to train in Ayia Napa, the Cyprus News Agency reported on Friday.
“Because of the conflict that exists between Russia and Turkey,” Ayia Napa Mayor Yiannis Karousos said, “many Russian football teams have expressed interest to visit Cyprus and especially Ayia Napa to train. A lot of Russian tour operators have visited the area in search of football fields, hotels and other facilities related to winter tourism”.
“Applications to the Ayia Napa town hall for the allocation of football pitches to agents specialising in sports tourism have exceeded all expectations. Several European countries including Scandinavian countries and Scotland have shown interest in using the total of 17 fields available, but the biggest demand is from Russia,” he added.
“It is estimated that 100 to 120 football teams will visit Ayia Napa for training between January and mid-March,” the Mayor said, “and there is an increased interest in football tournaments”.
“Because the interest is very large”, he continued “and the facilities in Ayia Napa can not cover all the teams, the City Council decided to invest €200,000 for upgrading football pitches. Fences, bars and sanitary facilities will be upgraded, and in some places lighting will be installed so that training can take place until late at night.”
Karousos added that around 12 to 14 hotels will remain open to serve the football teams.