Cyprus suspends all remaining games in football league

Players of Cyprus pose before a UEFA Euro 2020 group I qualifying match between Belgium and Cyprus in Brussels. (File)

Nicosia, (Samajweekly) The Cyprus Football Association (CFA) decided on Friday to suspend all pending games in the Cyprus football league, citing security protocols by Cypriot authorities relating to the coronavirus pandemic, a statement said.

The statement said the decision was made by the 22-member governing board of the Cyprus Football Federation, with only two of its members voting for the continuation of the competition, reports Xinhua news agency.

The cancellation of the football season came one day after CFA leadership met with President Nicos Anastasiades and his associates to discuss possible terms for the continuation of the football season.

“It became clear during the discussion that the epidemiological team which advises the government was opposed to accepting our football protocol and insisted on the application of (lockdown) degrees, which had been issued and are still in force,” the CFA statement said.

The CFA’s rules were in line with those of football authorities in other EU countries which have decided to restart soccer matches.

The scientific team advising the Cypriot government said during the meeting it could not change the official security protocols so as to accommodate the rules prepared by the CFA.

The two sides differed most notably on a CFA rule that in case of a footballer testing positive to COVID-19 only the footballer would be quarantined but not the team, and on the bringing forward of dates so that training and matches could take place earlier than allowed by the official timetable for athletic events.

The scientific team said that accepting the CFA rules would endanger all the work done so far to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The CFA also said it decided that there will be no relegation of teams this season, with the 14 teams of the first division being increased to 16 with the addition of the first two teams of the second division according to current standings.

The CFA said that current standings in the first division will also decide the teams which will take part in European competitions.

The first team will represent Cyprus in the European Champions League, with the next three teams representing the eastern Mediterranean island in the UEFA Europa League.