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CFA ‘will not accept’ Turkish Cypriots’ attempts to join world football

The draw for next season’s Cyprus football football championship calendar took place on Tuesday at the Cyta amphitheatre in Nicosia. The draw affects only the top division of Cyprus’ football pyramid which starts on August 22, 2020.
Cyprus Football Asociation president George Koumas

Cyprus Football Association (CFA) chairman George Koumas said on Monday he “will not accept” Turkish Cypriots’ attempts to unilaterally join the international football community.

Koumas was speaking at an event held to promote this year’s under-17 European football championships, which will be held next month in Cyprus.

He was reacting to an announcement by Turkish parliament speaker Numan Kurtulmus during a meeting with his Bahraini counterpart Ahmet Al Musalam that the Cyprus Turkish Football Association (CTFA) had applied to join the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

Koumas pointed to the 2013 Zurich Agreement signed between the CFA and CTFA, saying “they would be justified if this agreement did not exist.”

The agreement would have seen the former absorbed into the latter if fully applied, though the pair have acted as separate entities in the 11 years since its signing.

He added, “I have taken the necessary actions and in the next few days I will have meetings in Paris where the [European football organising body] Uefa congress will take place, with the aim of ending once again what the Turkish Cypriots are trying to do.”

“We as a federation will not allow any change in the status of football in Cyprus,” he said.

Football in Cyprus has faced division for as long as the island’s political scene.

The CFA had initially been a bicommunal organisation, with Turkish Cypriot teams featuring in its competitions. Nicosia-based Turkish Cypriot club Cetinkaya even saw trophy-laden success in the early 1950s, going toe to toe with the likes of Apoel.

However, Turkish Cypriot teams were banned from playing at many Greek Cypriot-owned grounds in 1955, and thus set up their own association, the CTFA, with competitions separate from that of the CFA.

Previous efforts, including the 2013 Zurich agreement, had been made to bring the two communities’ football associations closer, but ended without result.

The CTFA has not yet formally announced its candidacy to become a member of AFC, despite Kurtulmus’ assertions. It remains a member of Conifa, an international football confederation comprising of unrecognised countries and minority people groups.

Its women’s team is due to compete in the Conifa European championships in Norway in June.

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