The Cyprus Football Association (CFA) has received an official request from Greece to host the Greek Cup Final in Nicosia despite concerns over rising hooliganism incidents on the island.
The Hellenic Football Association has requested that the Greek Cup Final be held at the GSP Stadium on 20 May.
According to the CFA, it has initially consented to the request and passed it on to the police, who have the final say.
“The CFA has called the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) to participate in meetings to discuss the measures and conditions that the Police will set for final approval of the match,” the CFA announced.
A spokesperson said that the police have yet to receive an official request from either the CFA or the EPO for the policing of the Greek Cup Final and therefore are not in a position to decide whether they will police the match.
The police said that when such a request is filed, the force will evaluate the risk, including which teams will be playing and how many fans will come.
It is expected that AEK Athens will face PAOK Thessaloniki – both well-supported teams. This is because AEK beat Olympiakos Piraeus 3-0 in the first leg, and PAOK beat Lamia FC 5-1.
A request to hold the Greek volleyball cup final between Panathinaikos and Olympiakos Piraeus was turned down several years ago after police refused the request.
EPO turned to the CFA to host their Cup Final after Greek police said they could not police the game scheduled on the eve of the country’s general election on 21 May.
It officially announced that the game would be held in Cyprus at the 23,000-capacity GSP stadium.
The request comes just as Cyprus authorities are trying to clamp down on rising hooliganism at sports stadiums.
In the latest outbreak on 26 March, hooligans went on the rampage, causing damage to the Eleftheria-Tassos Papadopoulos indoor stadium in Nicosia while torching the bus company’s nearby offices.
The violence occurred at the basketball semi-final game between Apollon Limassol and Anorthosis Famagusta, which was later abandoned.
Following the trouble, the government introduced tougher measures, including subjecting fans to random alcohol and drug tests on entry to sports venues.
Authorities are also working on introducing legislation granting police the power to call off games if deemed extremely high risk.
Meanwhile, the CFA has come under heavy criticism for scheduling the Cyprus Cup Final on June 3, causing issues with clubs with players with contracts enwith31 May, when the season officially ends.
Critics claim the CFA had known beforehand that the Greek federation would be looking to hold their Cup final on the island and pushed the Cypriot one back to June.
In comments to the Financial Mirror, a CFA official refuted the claims, arguing that the relegation group games don’t finish before the end of the month.
One of the Cypriot Cup finalists will certainly be in a relegation battle, as AEL Limassol and Olympiakos Nicosia face each other in the semifinals.