After a flurry of complaints from the north on Wednesday, it was decided that Turkish Cypriot fans of Fenerbahce who do not have a valid Cypriot ID or a permanent residency permit and a fan card issued by the Cyprus Sports Organisation (Koa) will be allowed access to the AEK Arena in Larnaca for the Europa League match.
Following consultation with the United Nations, the decision to reverse the ban for Turkish Cypriot fans was reversed on Thursday morning after mounting pressure from Fenerbahce fans living in the north, who were told they were not allowed to the game.
On Wednesday, Koa said Turkish Cypriot fans, in order to gain access to the stadium, needed to be registered as away fans. In that case, they would not have needed a fan card.
However, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kibris said that that over 200 Fenerbahce fans living in the north have already bought tickets for the game worth €60 each before it was announced that they would need the fan card to enter AEK Arena.
On the same day, spokesman for Aek Kyriacos Demetriou insisted that they have agreed with Fenerbahce to make 600 tickets available to Turkish Cypriots, who will be crossing from the north for the match, adding to the confusion.
Later, Koa replied to the complaints raised by the Turkish Cypriot fans explaining that foreign fans without a Cypriot fan card are only allowed to enter sporting venues for official matches and competitions when the visiting team informs Koa about their wish to bring organised fans.
“In that case, the visiting team is required to provide a list of names of their fans, who will be allocated a special sector in the venue,” Koa said.
“This is not just applicable to the game between Aek and Fenerbahce, but to all European matches involving Cypriot teams.”
Koa’s stance on the matter was finally reversed on Thursday in the latest turn of events.
Meanwhile, police presence around the stadium will be increased, according to an announcement release by the force on Thursday.
Police invited all fans to arrive at the stadium around 5.30pm, over two hours before the start of the game, set for 7.45pm.
Visiting fans were allocated the entire north wing of AEK arena. Home fans, meanwhile, were advised to avoid the Kleima roundabout on their way to the ground and instead make their way from the new roundabout of the Kition Athletic Centre.
From there, fans were instructed to head left toward the swimming pool facilities and park east and south of GSZ stadium, southwest of the AEK Arena.
Police urged fans, both local and visiting, “to remain calm throughout the match in a spirit of sportsmanship”.
Moreover, banners displaying provocative and abusive political slogans will be seized. There will also be UN officers both inside and outside the stadium.
Security checks outside the stadium will also be thorough. Fans will not be able to carry coins and lighters, as well as motorcycle helmets inside the stadium.