The police are “intensely concerned” for the upcoming football season after fans with flares accidentally caused a fire at a pre-season training session, spokesman Christos Andreou said on Wednesday.

Andreou explained that around 800 fans had attended a pre-season training session, many of whom let off pyrotechnics, with a fire then breaking out in dry grassland outside the football ground in question.

The fire was put out by police officers at the scene before the fire brigade arrived.

“Despite the fact the fire was extinguished immediately and did not cause any damage, this incident raises questions regarding the readiness and willingness of the competent services to cooperate ahead of the upcoming football season,” Andreou said.

He added that the police had asked the local authorities where the ground is located to remove the dry grass from the area, but that nothing was done, and that this caused the fire to break out.

Additionally, he said, a police search of the ground found that alcoholic beverages were “illegally being displayed as for sale”, a fact which he described as “extremely worrying”.

He also said the ground’s external walls were “damaged” by the “writing of slogans”.

“The above incidents, combined with the fact that this was only a training session and not an official match, are causing us strong concerns ahead of the new football season,” he said.

He added that the incidents “also raise questions about the readiness and maturity of the competent bodies … and whether or not the new season can be held in safe conditions.

In addition, he said, the police are beefing up their presence at other pre-season training sessions around the country, with two riot squads from the Morphou police department having been put on standby and other training sessions being more heavily policed.