Convictions imposed on football fans for recent incidents both inside and outside sports venues are “utterly futile”, the independent union of Cyprus’ public employees (ASDYK) and its police branch said on Tuesday, calling for the creation of permanent anti-hooliganism police units in every district.

In a statement, the union added that the extent and intensity of incidents related to sporting event “have reached extremely alarming proportions.

“We are witnessing an escalating rise in hooliganism and youth delinquency,” ASDYK said.

“These problems have now deeply penetrated several young fan groups, resulting in the rise of an extremely dangerous culture.”

The union further highlighted the unprecedented use of Molotov cocktails and firearms against the police, adding that the scenario is a new one for the country.

“The preservation of safety and order within and outside sports venues is not solely the responsibility of the police,” the statement continued.

“We are calling for shared accountability among all parties involved and for the introduction of permanent anti-hooliganism units in every district, staffed by officers who possess the necessary training and equipment to effectively carry out their duties.”

Furthermore, the union called on the police, the Cyprus Football Association (Kop) and football fan clubs on the island to utilise the summer break to reassess operations regarding security in order to prevent incidents in the football seasons to come.

“The education ministry should also implement programmes aimed at developing a culture of social responsibility among young individuals and address youth delinquency.”

Finally, it urged political parties to stop getting involved in football clubs.

“It is widely known that parties have politicised football in Cyprus. Therefore, let everyone assume their rightful responsibilities and allow the police to fulfil its challenging mission,” the statement ended.

Meanwhile, a 20-year-old was on Tuesday remanded for three days by the Limassol district court after being charged for violent behaviour during the match between Apoel and Apollon on May 21.

The man was arrested in Paphos on Monday after a warrant was issued against him following the match.

He is the fourth person arrested in connection with the game, as three other fans were arrested prior to the match after police found them attempting to bring flares and smoke bombs into the stadium.

Tensions erupted as spectators entered the stadium, with fans of one team threatening fans of the other, and police resorted to use of the force’s water-cannon to restore order.

At the end of the match, Apoel fans smashed and ripped out seats, and hurled them into the playing field, damaging stadium walls.

Further incidents were recorded outside the stadium from fans of both teams, including the starting of fires.