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Cyprus champions ‘homeless’ after Bases Police rejection

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League winners Omonia are without a home after British Bases (SBA) authorities rejected the club’s request to police games at Achna Dasaki stadium in Famagusta.

The Nicosia club declared the Achna’s stadium as their home ground for domestic fixtures after falling out with management at the GSP, where Omonia will still be playing their Champions League games.

The area of Achna falls under the jurisdiction of the SBA, which on Thursday said it could not provide policing for Omonia’s fixtures.

“We can confirm that the SBA police will not support an application to provide police support for Omonia football matches at Achnas Forest ground during the 2021-22 season due to public safety concerns and the potential adverse impact on core police community services,” an SBA spokesperson said.

Talking to online sports outlet Kerkida.net, the SBA spokesperson Corina Orphanides said the decision was final, and Omonia will not be playing in Achna.

She said SBA authorities had been in contact with Omonia throughout the application process and recommended finding an alternative venue.

“This decision is consistent with requests by other top-flight clubs in previous seasons where police support has also not been provided.”

Some years ago, Ermis Aradippou shared the Dasaki stadium with local team Ethnikos Achnas.

It was told by the SBA to move out as they were not able to provide security due to limited staff — Omonia has a far bigger fan base.

Omonia named the Achna stadium, some 56 km from Nicosia, as its home ground for the 2021-2022 season, after falling out over fees at the GSP where it normally plays.

The club claimed that rivals APOEL, with whom they share the ground since 1999 when the new Nicosia GSP stadium was built, were given a better rent deal for the stadium’s facilities.

The two sides disagreed over the stadium’s charges, with Omonia also wanting to negotiate better terms and a longer contract before signing a new deal.

Tension has far from subsided, as the GSP management accused Omonia of pulling out after securing the ground for their European fixtures “under false pretences.”

GSP is the only ground approved by the European football governing body UEFA to host games for the Champions League Group stage.

Omonia accused GSP of abusing its monopoly for top European tournament games to squeeze more money out of the team with what the club’s President Stavros Papastavrou described as ‘mafia-style practices’.

The club made a comeback after New York-based investor Papastavrou pumped millions to succeed as Omonia won the league for the first time in ten years last season.

Omonia was also awarded first place in the league last year but not the title as the season was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic.