Greece’s Football Federation (EPO) on Tuesday said that no Greek football teams would send representatives to a football academy tournament they had been invited to in the north next month.
The announcement reportedly came after the head of the Cyprus Football Association, Giorgos Koumas, sought explanations from EPO after three of Greece’s Super League teams, Paok, Aris and Xanthi, were invited to send their scouts to the tournament.
Football academies from Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, the Ivory Coast and Mauritania are to take part in the first African Football Tournament in Kyrenia between December 10 and 20. Organisers of the event said European football clubs will send scouts to the event.
Koumas, according to Kerkida.net sports news portal, said in his letter that the football matches in question would take place at stadiums that have been “illegally used in the north for the last 44 years without the consent of their legitimate owners.”
EPO head Vangelis Grammenos told Sigma TV on Tuesday that none of the Greek football teams invited would attend the tournament.
“I contacted the three teams and they confirmed categorically that they have no intention of sending a representative to that event,” Grammenos said.
It is understood that the tournament is a private initiative and that authorities in the north are not involved in it.
Paok FC’s academy director and team manager Vangelis Pourliotopoulos told Greek sports news portal 24sports they had received an invitation from African football teams to send scouts and they were told arrangements would be made for accommodation of their representatives in the government-controlled areas.
He also said the invitation concerned the observation of only African teams. Organisers said that the reason the event was taking place in the north, he said, was that due to restrictions in the visa policy of the Schengen area concerning nationals of African countries, it could not be organised in Greece or the government-controlled areas in Cyprus.