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Footballers say they do not pose a risk to public health in Cyprus, refs praise VAR

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A total lockdown would be an additional and useless burden for football, says the Pancyprian Footballers' Association

The Pancyprian Footballers’ Association (PASP) said on Thursday that football is not a threat to public health, in relation to the possibility of a general lockdown being announced on Friday.

“A total lockdown would be an additional and useless burden for football, as thousands of people whose jobs depend on it will be put out of work,” said the PASP in a statement.

“Athletes, coaches, physios, masseurs, carers, accountants and even people whose jobs are linked to football, such as journalists, will be gravely affected.

“Strict measures will be especially daunting for clubs belonging to lower categories, as their employees depend on football to provide an income for their families.”

According to the PASP, in most countries where there is a total lockdown in effect professional sports have not been interrupted, as they remain a form of distraction for the general population.

“In addition to that, footballers do not burden the hospitals, as none of them have required hospitalisation since the beginning of the pandemic.

Finally, the statement called for the reopening of stadiums, claiming that almost no Covid-19 cases were detected during football matches.

Meanwhile, the president of the Cyprus Referees Association Giorgos Papoutsos said the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in Cyprus has been positive.

VAR on the island has made its official debut last December 11 and has been praised by footballers and referees alike, as well as by fans.

“We are very happy with the way VAR is being used as a tool by referee to take correct decisions of the pitch,” Papoutsos told the Cyprus News Agency on Thursday.

“However, we still need to be patient until referees familiarise with a completely new system,” he said referring to some rare individual cases where the system was not used properly.

“The main reason behind the mistakes is our referees’ relative inexperience when using VAR. Time will lead to a gradual improvement in the use of the system, as each referee is still being trained, so there’s certainly room for improvement,” Papoutsos concluded.

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