Police unions decried the government’s measures aimed at tackling hooliganism as “unrealistic”, while it pointed out that others already exist but are not enforced.
Nikos Loizides, head of the Isotita police union, said the measures announced on Wednesday – which includes spot tests for alcohol and drug use at stadiums – is not the correct course of action.
He instead stressed that measures already in place must be enforced to get a grip on the situation, such as fan clubs submitting the register of its members.
Loizides also emphasised the need for police to have the list of spectators who purchased tickets, adding that officers must have this a day before the matches begin.
His comments on the CyBC morning slot were backed up by his colleague Loukas Christou, head of the Asdyk police union branch.
Christou’s core critcism is that, in his view, the process for getting officers into trouble by reporting them is too easy.
He argued that complaints to the independent authority for the investigation of allegations against the police are currently not backed up by written statements. That, he claimed, puts officers at risk of arbitrary proceedings against them.
He therefore reasoned that the proposal of creating a riot squad to control sporting events will have no impact, as its members will simply be reported and subsequently be unable to do their job.
The united front presented by the police unions against cabinet’s decision on Wednesday comes after the force again faced critcisim for not doing enough to prevent violent clashes.
In the aftermath of the incidents that took place on Sunday after a basketball match at Eleftheria stadium, President Nicos Christodoulides vowed that fans will either behave or be barred from attending.
Indeed, the violence prompted the Cyprus football federation (Kop) to announce that Thursday’s Apoel-Ael futsal cup final at Kition Sports Centre will be held without fans.