Unification of Cyprus possible in football
NICOSIA - Agence France-PresseFootball officials on the divided island of Cyprus yesterday there was progress in efforts to put Greek and Turkish Cypriot teams under one roof for the first time in over 50 years.
Officials from the Greek Cyprus Football Association (CFA) traveled north across the UN-patrolled ceasefire line to meet Turkish Cypriot counterparts to end the current politically enforced segregation. This follow-up meeting from December was also attended by representatives from world and European governing bodies FIFA and UEFA respectively.
“I want to thank FIFA and UEFA for their interest. After this meeting, I think we are closer to an agreement than we were before it,” CFA chairman Costakis Koutsokoumnis told reporters. “There is a large light at the end of the tunnel,” he added He said both sides would now hold discussions on the matter in Zurich, Switzerland sometime in March.
But the CFA chief said any deal would have to be ratified by the members of the two football associations.
Turkish Cypriot football association chief Hasan Sertoğlu said after yesterday’s meeting, both sides were closer to an agreement. “I hope that in the near future we will be able to bridge some differences which still exist,” he said.
The CFA is recognized by FIFA and UEFA as the island’s sole international football authority, while the Turkish Cypriot association is not recognized.
Sporting contact of any kind between the two sides is rare but this latest move could help to build bridges.