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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Club sends in fans to stop TV crew ]

Club sends in fans to stop TV crew

Author: 
Elias Hazou

HUNDREDS of AEL FC fans blocked the entrance to Limassol’s Tsirio stadium yesterday, preventing the live coverage of a league football match.
The fans were out to stop crews of cable sports network LTV from gaining access to the grounds, blocking the entrance with cars and even a fork-lift truck.
The game, held behind closed doors as hosts AEL were serving a suspension ban, kicked off at 7pm, although fans had gathered at the grounds as early as noon to organise their barricade. Police in full riot gear were deployed in anticipation of trouble.
Shortly before kickoff, and under heavy police escort, LTV crews arrived at the stadium to set up their equipment. There followed heated discussions outside between LTV, stadium officials, fans and police on whether the technicians and commentators should be allowed in.
The LTV vans were eventually allowed inside, but not before riot police literally picked up the parked cars with their hands to move them out of the way.
Once inside the stadium, talks between the LTV people and AEL club board members failed to yield results, and the television crew eventually walked out.
The incident relates to a dispute between AEL and LTV over a broadcasting agreement, which the club wants to terminate, an offer the network has declined. The contract, which covers the 2010 to 2013 seasons, was apparently upheld by a recent court decision.
Prior to yesterday’s match, AEL club president Andreas Sofocleous urged LTV not to broadcast the game “for the sake of all concerned” – hinting that trouble might break out if the crews showed up.
With a legal battle in the works, LTV’s failure to dispatch a crew might have been interpreted as a breach of their contractual obligations, so the network showed up at the stadium even though the chances of actually broadcasting were slim to none.
The game, featuring AEL and Ermis, was broadcast by another television station (Plus TV), in a development which LTV is almost sure to contest as a breach of contract on the part of the club.
Because it was wary of being directly linked to stopping the broadcast, the club seems to have marshalled the rank-and-file to discourage LTV from showing up at the stadium, said a source, who did not wish to be identified.
But the sports network did not take the bait, the source added.
The AEL fan website is expressing outrage over LTV’s alleged ‘persistence’ in holding the club ‘hostage’ to the broadcasting agreement. One post on the site urges supporters to cancel their subscriptions to LTV.
“Not a single cent to the bloodsuckers,” the post reads.
LTV declined comment when contacted yesterday.



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



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