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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Government moves on football violence ]

Government moves on football violence

Charles Charalambous

THE government has “reached the end of its tether” over football-related violence, and will push next week for joint decisions that “may be radical, strict” and not popular with many people, Justice Minister Loucas Louca said yesterday.

Speaking at a press conference to review the last two years of his Ministry’s work, Loucas said that President Demetris Christofias will call a meeting next week with all concerned parties “so that we can agree jointly to take basic decisions, some of which may be radical, some strict that many people will not like.”

“I do not think there is a single Cypriot who saw the violent scenes last week and did not feel revulsion for what was happening,” Loucas said.

“We have to put aside all financial interests, whether they relate to the clubs or associations, or are personal interests, so that we can face up to the phenomenon. Everybody must put forward his views. We have proposals to put forward, and we will ask the other bodies to participate in their implementation.”

Asked to comment on the current proposal for the football clubs to pay for the policing of grounds on match-days, Loucas said that the issue had been discussed with the Cyprus Football Association, which agreed.

Describing the move as a “social measure”, Loucas said: “Why should the taxpayer pay for policing a match, and not the fan who goes to watch and enjoy the game?”

“I don’t think this demand is unreasonable,” he said. “In other European countries, policing costs are covered by the stadium-owner.”

Referring to the mass violence involving some 4,000 fans after last weekend’s cup final in Limassol, after which the police’s handling of the situation came in for criticism, Loucas said: “I’m not saying that mistakes don’t happen or that the police can’t make a more dynamic intervention to control this phenomenon.”

He added: “Everybody must assume their responsibilities, be they clubs, association or the police. Any time mistakes have been made, we have admitted our mistakes in order to correct them.”

(Source: Cyprus Mail)
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008 Please contact Cyprus Mail for the copyright terms of this article.

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