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Three football fans caught with alcohol banned from stadiums (Update)

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Police in Larnaca arrested three men for “acting suspiciously” before the start of Wednesday night’s football match between Anorthosis and Apollon.

The trio, two of whom are 28 years old and one who is 25, appeared in court on Thursday, and were banned from entering any football stadium until their trial begins next Tuesday.

Police said that shortly before kick-off, a person in one of the stands was seen on CCTV “behaving suspiciously”.

At the same time, they said, three other people outside the stadium were also “behaving suspiciously” on CCTV.

Upon further inspection, it was discovered that one of the three outside the stadium had thrown a rope into the stadium, to be caught by the man waiting inside.

Police arrested all three men waiting outside and discovered bags containing beer and vodka nearby.

They believe that the men’s aims were to smuggle alcoholic beverages and “dangerous instruments” into the stadium.

Violence at football has been a hot topic of late, with Apoel having been thrown out of the Coca-Cola Cup earlier this month due to fan violence.

The Nicosia-based club were drawing 0-0 away at Nea Salamina on January 16 when a firecracker launched from the away fans’ section hit Nea Salamina player Giorgos Papageorgiou.

Another Coca-Cup match, held between Limassol rivals Apollon and Ael, was abandoned before it could even start as sets of fans threw fireworks and other objects at each other and invaded the pitch.

In response to the continuing violence, the Cyprus Football Association (CFA) moved to ban away fans from all professional matches until the end of the season.

However, football players have called for more stringent and long-lasting measures, with players’ association Pasp executive president Spyros Neofytides calling for Cyprus to ratify the Saint-Denis convention to enhance the safety of fans and players at matches on the island.

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