Up to 300 Paphos swimming athletes are in limbo as the city’s main pool remains closed over a seemingly bureaucratic row, with the mayor and deputy mayor at odds over the issue.
The Evagoras Pallikarides pool was briefly reopened – for just two hours – this week as the city’s deputy mayor Christos Makariou gave the green light for it to operate, but the incident ended in tears.
The Paphos Nautical Club (NOP) posted photos showing traffic wardens at the scene, alleging that they turned off the lights at about 5:30pm which terrified some young children who burst into tears.
One of those impacted by the pool closure told the Cyprus Mail on Friday that the city’s mayor ordered the pool to close. The mayor did not immediately reply for comment.
Diko MP Chrysanthos Savvides told Sigma on Thursday that the situation is unacceptable, and that children’s education is not simply a matter of lessons in the classroom, but also requires important activities such as sports.
“A big crime is taking place in Paphos for about two months now, they have closed the pool with 300 people impacted – with some children now forced to travel to other cities for training,” he said.
The row is centered over a dispute as to whether one of the team’s training there is unlicensed, with a breakaway team training at the pool but without accreditation from the Cyprus Sports Organisation (KOA).
A member of the public contacted the Cyprus Mail and explained that the NOP is recognised by KOA but a splinter group broke off last year. That second group was temporarily allowed to use the pool for about a year, but the mayor is accused of subsequently closing the pool entirely.
That has lasted for about two months.
Savvides added that the education ministry has been notified of the problem, while he further blamed KOA for not doing enough to resolve the issue.