Cyprus Mail

Akel accuses government of failing to tackle hooliganism

Stavros Malas said abstention on Sunday should not be an option

Akel-backed presidential candidate Stavros Malas said on Wednesday that the outgoing government was blaming others instead of shouldering responsibility for the clashes at Monday’s match between AEL and Apoel.

“It was only by luck that we did not mourn victims,” he said, accusing the government of inaction, reluctance, sloppiness and selective treatment over violence inside and outside stadiums, while at the same time announcing measures from a future Akel government to develop a national strategy to deal with hooliganism.

He said an Akel administration would create a small task force and prepare a national strategy in four months.

“The task force will propose measures that will be implemented immediately, in the medium and long term.”

Malas said he would establish a committee of local and foreign experts which the cabinet would pay for out of its own budget and which would be responsible for coordinating and supervising the measures.

Asked about his position on the controversial ID card for sports fans, Malas doubted whether it would work.

Describing the measure as “totally ineffective” he said there are ways of identifying who is on the pitch.

“What the minister of justice and police have to answer to is how all those very dangerous objects and the flares in the stadium were found,” he said.

Asked whether Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou should resign, Malas said the minister often too blamed others and that it was time for the present government to make very substantial proposals to tackle football violence.

Malas, who has just returned from a trip to the UK, also spoke about his contacts there.

Referring to his meeting with Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn, he said Corbyn supports resolving the Cyprus issue and believes Malas’ presidency of the Republic will be one way to lead to a desired solution.

On his meeting with the head of the Eastern Mediterranean Department Amy Clemitshaw who “was at Crans-Montana and knows very well what happened there”, he said she told him that Britain must be very clear on the subject of guarantees and security and must not be neutral, waiting for the others, Greece and Turkey, to position themselves. She called on the UK to stand firmly against the continuation of the guarantees he said.

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