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Footballers threaten strike over lack of safety

football hooligans
File photo [Source: Limassol Hooligans]

Footballers on Tuesday threatened to strike over dangerous conditions in stadia, following a meeting of the Footballers’ Association (Pasp).

The meeting was attended by representatives of players from first division teams, with participants expressing concerns about “the unfavourable conditions in which they are forced to play”.

They requested a meeting with new Justice Minister Marios Hartsiotis, Police Chief Stelios Papatheodorou, and the leadership of the Cyprus Football Association (CFA), and said they would enter the fields before the next games carrying signs bearing messages against violence and racism.

They said the decisions made at Tuesday’s meeting give time for dialogue to take place this week, with a view for “appropriate measures” to be taken.

However, should the situation not improve, they said they will then move to discuss more drastic options, including outright refusing to play.

They said, “the current situation cannot continue any longer. The time has come for the state to assume its responsibilities.”

“Footballers are particularly concerned … about insufficient checks on the gates of stadia, about firecrackers, flares, and other dangerous objects – even glass bottles – being thrown, about the entrance of hooded fans into stadia, as well as the insufficient number of stewards,” they said.

They added that they are asking for guarantees that they will be protected while working.

“It is clear that illegal acts at football stadia have become the norm,” they said, adding that legislation on the matter is “not being implemented as it should be”.

“The situation has reached an impasse, and we cannot wait for the first serious or fatal injury, or even a death of a footballer or another person for the state to decide to properly implement the legislation.”

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