19 May 2014 10:57

Police on Sunday called on whoever threw a firecracker that injured APOEL player Kaka and brought a title-deciding match between AEL-APOEL to a premature end to turn themselves in.
The call came as President Nicos Anastasiades stressed the need for new measures to fight football violence and Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou defended policing of Saturday's match.
The all-important game between AEL-APOEL in Limassol was abandoned by the referee after a fire cracker was thrown at the APOEL bench injuring  Brazilian defender Kaka. Investigations yesterday revealed the cracker had broken through a plastic protective barrier before hitting the player.
Three Cytavision technicians working on the match's transmission were also inured when other firecrackers were thrown minutes before the start of the game.
The score was still at a nail-biting 0-0 when the firecracker hit Kaka. The incident has been described as a black day for Cyprus football as it ruined the climax of a thrilling championship.
The issue is in the hands of the Cyprus Football Federation and means that the title will probably be decided in a tribunal and not on the pitch.
Questions have been raised as to how firecrackers were smuggled into the stadium.  Police had taken unprecedented measures on the day to prevent any trouble.
The Cyprus Football Association will decide whether the game will be awarded to either of the two teams or if the game will be continued from suspension time.
Invited to comment on the incident yesterday, President Anastasiades said that proposals soon to be put forward by the government on football violence, now become more essential than ever, ahead of the new championship season.
Also yesterday, Nicolaou defended the police's work at the Saturday match but also said everyone who was responsible should accept their share of blame.
"We must all recognise that the police essentially managed to control and allow all the fans to enter and leave the stadium without any problem," the minister said.
He acknowledged "some items entered the stadium but what we must evaluate is what quality of control we want at the stadiums. Will we carry out checks like those at airports? If we are going to do something like that we have to evaluate on the one hand what the cost would be and on the other how much time it would take to check the 10,000 to 20,000 fans going in. It is not possible for these kinds of checks to be carried out." He also called on the football teams to share their burden of responsibility.
AEL, meanwhile, yesterday offered a €5,000 reward to anyone with information leading to the identification of the person who threw the firecracker.


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