Cyprus to crack down on fan violence at sporting events
Cyprus’ justice minister on Wednesday unveiled a host of measures to combat fan violence at sporting events, including pre-game drug and alcohol tests, increased body searches and tougher policing.
The measures come days after opposing fans at a basketball playoff game between rivals Anorthosis and Apollon fought inside and outside the Tassos Papadopoulos stadium in the capital Nicosia, setting fire to public transport offices outside the venue.
Justice minister Anna Koukkides-Procopiou said the government will introduce legal amendments enabling police to administer drug and alcohol tests to suspected users ahead of sporting events.
PRESIDENT OF CYPRUS SETS DEFENSE SPENDING GOAL AT 2% OF GDP
Police will intensify searches of fans entering venues while bans for convicted offenders will be raised to a maximum of 10 years.
A dedicated riot squad will be tasked with exclusively policing sporting and other “high-risk” events, while police inspections and oversight of travelling fans will be stepped up.
Police arrested three people in connection with the violence at the basketball game that saw three Nicosia Public Transport offices opposite the stadium go up in flames after being hit by Molotov cocktails.
Police said six officers suffered minor injuries after being showered with flares, Molotov cocktails, rocks and other projectiles, while several police and private vehicles parked outside the stadium were damaged.
One officer who had accompanied Apollon fans aboard their bus has been suspended pending a disciplinary probe because he allegedly refused to cooperate with investigators looking into the violence, police said.
Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides condemned the violence, saying such behavior can no longer be tolerated.
“It’s been discussed, discussed again, every time after such incidents there are meetings and more meetings,” he told reporters Tuesday. “It’s time for decisions.”
ITALIAN AUTHORITIES CLASH WITH SOCCER FANS AHEAD OF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE MATCH
Fan organizations pointed a finger of blame at law enforcement for not doing its job, but police representatives spoke out against what they said was a lack of support for officers on the front lines of such violence.
Other measures Koukkides-Procopiou announced were the more active involvement of police in the issuing of fan identification cards that were introduced as a way to stave off unruly behavior by fans concealing their identity.
She said closed-circuit cameras will be installed at all stadiums where top-flight sporting events are being held.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
The minister added that the attorney general’s office will look into legal amendments empowering police to enforce either a ban on travelling fans if deemed necessary, or canceling the event altogether.
Denial of responsibility! Today Breeze.in is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – email@example.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.