The Cyprus Football Association’s President Giorgos Koumas issued an announcement following a teleconference with the presidents of first division sides, bar Doxa Katokopias, regarding the latest instructions and briefings by Uefa, the administrative body for European football.
He informed them that Uefa was strongly in favour of all domestic competitions to be resumed as soon as the circumstances will allow and be completed by playing in July and even early August.
However, Uefa did concede that at this stage they could not be sure as to when and if competitions could be resumed and they would re-evaluate the situation by mid-May.
However the decision by the Belgian league management to stop their domestic league and award the championship title to Club Brugges prompted Uefa to send out a letter warning other domestic associations that ‘Uefa believes that any decision of abandoning domestic competitions is, at this stage, premature and not justified.’
“Since participation in Uefa club competitions is determined by the sporting result achieved at the end of a full domestic competition, a premature termination would cast doubts over the fulfilment of such condition. Uefa reserves the right to assess the entitlement of clubs to be admitted to the 2020-21 Uefa club competitions, in accordance with the relevant applicable competition regulations.”
The letter concluded by saying: “Stopping competitions should really be the last resort after acknowledging that no calendar alternative would allow to conclude the season.”
The majority of Cyprus’ first division clubs seem to share Uefa’s position.
Apoel issued a statement saying that any talk at this stage of suspending permanently the competitions was premature while both Apollon and Anorthosis said that football should be decided on the football pitch and nowhere else. Current leaders Omonia expressed their commitment to wait for as long as possible so that the championship can resume.
The president of the footballers association (Pasp) Spyros Neophytides, speaking earlier today at local radio station Super Sport FM said that even though he has not been officially briefed by the CFA on what was discussed with club’s presidents he also backed Uefa’s decision.
“We have no other alternative but to find ways to conclude the competitions. Some people do not realise the extent of the damage if we do not do so,” he added.
The deputy secretary of the CFA Giorgos Pentaras though seemed like a lone ranger speaking on Sports 1 when he derided Uefa for its decision.
“I agree that titles should be won on the field but to say that this will be over soon is living in another world. I firmly believe that no football will be played before September.”
“Football is of secondary importance now. The Cyprus economy just fell into a bottomless pit and we are talking of how to save the season?”
The big question that arises is if the CFA decided to cancel/stop the season.
Will the current standings be considered as final, something that will give the championship to Omonia, or will it be decided that the season is null and void?
And then which teams will represent Cyprus in the European competitions for season 2020-2021?
The relegation group (bottom 6 teams) appear to be of one mind. No relegation, and increase the number of teams with the top two teams in the second division.
For the top group though it will be an ugly battle. If they decide the current standings are the final ones then Anorthosis will have lost the championship on head-to-head clashes with Omonia. If they decide that the 2019-2020 season is null and void, then Omonia will be ruing their luck as they have not been in such a position for a long time.
As lawyer and former club president Chris Triantifyllides said: “There is no right or wrong here, we must decide which decision has more rights than wrongs,” much easier said than done.