The Cyprus Football Association on Wednesday punished Apollon and Apoel in response to last weekend’s violent incidents before, during and after a match between the two teams.
According to sports judge Aristotelis Vryonides, both clubs were handed fines for their fans’ behaviour, and will also be playing behind closed doors until the end of the season.
The fines were due to the use of lasers by fans of both teams during the game, which is in violation of the association’s disciplinary code. Specifically, reports said Apollon fans were pointing lasers towards Apoel’s fans and players.
The second punishment, playing behind closed doors for the probationary period until the end of the season, came about as a result of several violations of the disciplinary code by fans.
These included bringing into the stadium dangerous items like torches and flares, throwing items towards the stands before the game and into the field during the game, and consuming alcoholic drinks during the game.
This was also due to several disruptions that took place during the match, such as the entry of fans into the pitch on the 23rd minute of the game and the subsequent 15-minute disruption it caused.
“The result was serious disturbance on the pitch, which caused injuries and further the temporary stoppage of the match in progress for 15 minutes which caused injuries and required police intervention for order to be restored”.
So far, five men have been arrested in connection with the incidents, three of whom were remanded for five days.
Trouble first broke out before the match when Apollon fans attacked Limassol traffic police outside the stadium on Sunday. One officer required first aid for cuts and abrasions while one fan stole the officer’s cap and others spray-painted patrol cars.
Thereafter, a large group of Apoel fans attempted to force their way into the stadium bypassing the entry guards. Police came to the aid of the guards and the fans were slowed and checked as required by law.
Soon after the match began, an estimated 30 fans from both teams got into a fight inside the football pitch, throwing stones, flares and advertising plaques. Anti-riot police, who had been stationed outside the stadium, entered and broke up the brawls, arresting three people, aged 17, 23 and 25.
All three suspects were taken into custody, while the 25-year-old was taken by ambulance to a private hospital in Limassol to be treated for a broken nose.
Following the end of the match, fans of both teams gathered and threw stones and Molotov cocktails at police.
The water-cannon Aiantas was employed by police to break up the crowd and some of the attackers were forcibly removed from the scene.
Earlier this week, police and football stakeholders held a joint meeting to improve things within football teams and fan clubs and prevent future incidents.