Cyprus Mail

Footballers call for European fan safety standards

The Saint-Denis convention, written by the Council of Europe, sets out a list of requirements for football grounds, football associations, and local authorities to ensure the safety of fans in attendance

By Tom Cleaver and Jonathan Shkurko


The Footballers’ Association (Pasp)’s executive president Spyros Neofytides on Wednesday called for Cyprus to ratify the Saint-Denis convention to enhance the safety of fans at football matches on the island.

The suggestion was made at a meeting between a delegation from the Pasp and Justice Minister Marios Hartsiotis regarding heightened violence in Cypriot football grounds of late.

With this in mind, Neofytides called for Cyprus to hold a pan-European meeting on the subject of the Saint-Denis conference, with the aim of informing the relevant stakeholders about the convention and what it stipulates.

The Saint-Denis convention, written by the Council of Europe, sets out a list of requirements for football grounds, football associations, and local authorities to ensure the safety of fans in attendance. It was opened for signature in 2016, before the Euro 2016 quarter final between France and Iceland.

Cyprus signed the convention in 2017, but has not yet ratified it, nor implemented the legislation to fulfil its requirements.

Neofytides said he informed Hartsiotis about the convention, and that he had communicated with Council of Europe Secretary-general Marija Pejcinovic Buric with the aim of organising a pan-European conference in Cyprus on the matter of the Saint-Denis convention.

He gave an example of one of the stipulations where Cyprus falls short, that being on the matter of CCTV.

The convention stipulates that CCTV cameras at football grounds have a resolution of at least 150 megapixels, whereas in Cyprus, no CCTV camera at any football ground has a resolution exceeding 65 megapixels.

Neofytides said, “the systems are flawed and I wonder who exactly chose them, given that in 2017 we made a similar presentation to the government and they were aware of the minimum specifications.”

In addition, he referred to a memorandum of understanding signed between the Pasp and the government in June under former Justice Minister Anna Procopiou, saying “all stakeholders must assume their responsibilities and follow the directions agreed upon in June.”

Based on the memorandum, the Pasp had committed to intensify its anti-violence campaign through ad-hoc programmes drawn up by the association itself.

In the past ten years, the Pasp had in fact been organising events in schools with the active participation of football players engaging with students, aimed at sending messages against negative phenomena in football, such as violence and racism, among others.

He also mentioned the possibility of putting fans previously accused of violent behaviour in holding cells while their teams are playing, saying such a measure “already exists”.

He added that the Pasp “does not approve” of moving to play games behind closed doors, but that “if there is reasonable cause and something needs to be done for safety reasons, we are willing to discuss it.”

At the moment, football matches in Cyprus are being played without the presence of away fans in the stands.

There were rumours that, after the incidents in the stands during the Limassol derby between Ael and Apollon, the measure would be extended to all fans, but that has not yet happened.

Follow the Cyprus Mail on Google News

Related Posts

Christodoulides stresses EU role in resolving Cyprus problem

Jonathan Shkurko

North holds LGBT pride parade

Tom Cleaver

Turkish Cypriot leader condemns political exploitation of Mosque vandalism

Jonathan Shkurko

Row over Vasiliko terminal deepens

Jean Christou

UK aid reaches Gaza via Cyprus maritime corridor

Jonathan Shkurko

Fire in Liopetri burns one hectare of unharvested crops

Staff Reporter