Cyprus football deal stirs debate

Cyprus football deal stirs debate

NICOSIA - Hürriyet
Cyprus football deal stirs debate

Turkish Cyprus FA President Hasan Sertoğlu (L) and Greek Cyprus FA President Costakis Koutsokoumnis shake hands during a signing ceremony. AFP photo

Turkish Cypriots officials have voiced hesitation about a recently penned provisional arrangement to unify football on the eastern Mediterranean island, signaling possible changes to the text despite opposing statements from Greek Cypriots.

Turkish Cyprus Football Association (CTFA) President Hasan Sertoğlu said the signed text was only a draft and that the Turkish side was planning to ask for revisions on the document that will end the isolation of the clubs from the northern part of the island.

But Greek Cyprus Football Association (CFA) President Costakis Koutsokoumnis dismissed Sertoğlu’s comments, saying: “A deal is a deal. There will be no changes.” Press reports also gave different accounts of the deal, with Greek Cypriot outlets claiming the Turkish side was taking a step back while nationalist Turkish Cypriot newspapers accused officials of betrayal.

Turkish Cyprus President Derviş Eroğlu warned the Turkish officials about the possibility of Greek Cypriot pressure.

“Our youth should not be subjected to sports embargos. But the way to overcome that is not to let the Greek side rule over us. I trust the football circles that they will not put the future of the Turkish Cyprus people at risk and that they will not put us in a difficult spot through negotiations,” Eroğlu said.

Under the arrangement, the CTFA will become a member of the CFA in accordance with the Greek organization’s statutes and regulations.

‘Ban Ki-moon plan’

As FIFA and UEFA recognize the CFA as the island’s sole international football authority, the Turkish Cypriot association is not recognized. The deal is based on FIFA and UEFA statutes and only concerns football-related matters and it aims to unify and facilitate the progress of football within the communities on the island.

Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called on the United Nations to come up with a new plan on Cyprus. “There was the Annan plan for Cyprus, but it was shelved. Perhaps now there will be a Ban Ki-moon plan,” Erdoğan said in Sweden. “Let’s make this plan, take the steps and reach the conclusion.”