Cyprus Mail

Violence mars Futsal season opener (updated)

Apoel blame the fracas on bad policing while maintaining the visitors started it. Police used tear gas to disperse the trouble makers

Two people were seriously injured on Wednesday evening during fan clashes in Nicosia that forced the interruption of the futsal season’s curtain-raising supercup fixture between Apoel Nicosia and Anorthosis Famagusta.

Reports said a 16-year-old male suffered a brain haematoma while another man, 20, was hit in the eye.

The 16-year-old underwent surgery while the second fan was being treated in hospital.

The Tassos Papadopoulos Eleftheria stadium and the surrounding area turned in to a battleground between rival supporters, forcing the game to be abandoned while the score was 1-0 to Apoel.

The clashes, which marred the game started within the closed area of the stadium, continuing in the surrounding area where Apoel fans were entrenched.

Witnesses to the violence reported seeing the Nicosia fans leaving the stadium for a few minutes on the arrival of their Famagusta counterparts, only to return shortly afterwards hurling bottles, rocks and any other objects they could find in front of them, not only at the opposition fans but at their bench and players.

Apoel blame the fracas on bad policing while maintaining the visitors started it. Police used tear gas to disperse the troublemakers.

Dozens of visiting fans remained outside the venue until buses to Larnaca arrived to provide transport back to their city.

The aftermath of the violence was a severely damaged stadium, looking like a battlefield, with broken glass and debris strewn all over the place.

Reports suggest that the limited number of police present, in comparison to the 400 fans who attended, did not help the situation.

The sports organization (KOA) condemned the violence, announcing an investigation into the causes.

“As the supreme athletics authority, KOA aims to stamp out these horrible hooliganism phenomena that mar our sports,” it said in a statement.

Chairman Kleanthis Georgiades convened a meeting to examine the matter after an inspection of the damage caused during the trouble.

KOA also ordered an immediate investigation into the events, after which it will carry out the appropriate actions.

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