Cyprus Mail

Football referees strike amidst ongoing bomb threats

papoutsos, president of the Referees Association, George Papoutsos
President of the Referees Association, George Papoutsos

The scheduled football match between Nea Salamis and Ethnikos Achna, which was set to take place at 7pm at the Ammochostos Stadium in Larnaca, will not kick off as planned.

The reason for the game’s postponement is the absence of referees who have indefinitely gone on strike due to the continuous bomb attacks that have targeted them and their families in the past years.

Referees have requested that the Cyprus Football Association (CFA) and the government take security measures to address the ongoing issue. They also condemned the fact that none of the numerous bomb attack cases against referees has been resolved by the authorities.

The CFA has expressed its deep concern over these repeated malicious actions and the creation of an atmosphere of terror aimed at our referees.

“The organisation reaffirms its support for the referees and their families, hoping that the perpetrators will be brought to justice through the ongoing police investigations,” a CFA statement said.

Furthermore, the CFA has announced that it is actively working to arrange meetings with the referees and relevant government authorities to discuss matters related to the safety of referees.

“The goal is to ensure their swift return to the football fields and their officiating duties.”

After the announcement, the president of the Referees Association, George Papoutsos, also spoke to Super Sport FM regarding the referees’ decision to go on strike.

“There are many aspects that require examination and input from the Referees Association,” he said.

“I condemn all forms of violence; these incidents sadden us. This issue should be carefully examined and addressed as a societ.

“Violence is not only exercised in first division matches. Refereeing faces problems in all categories. I applaud the fact that measures are being taken, but decisions should be made comprehensively.”

Papoutsos said he was not previously informed by referees about their decision to go on strike. He said, however, that the association is always listening to their concerns.

“Elite referees can count on the Referees Association. Our doors are open, and referees receive more support when they stand together,” he said.

“We are here, and we do not hesitate to take a stand, even when the individual in question is not part of the association. The strike should not be for just one match, it should last for two or three weeks so that we can think it through.”

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