Cyprus FA Suspends All Matches after Ref Walkout over Attack

Cyprus' president Nicos Anastasiades (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

NICOSIA — Cyprus’ soccer federation has suspended all matches after a referee walkout over a bombing attack against a colleague’s car.

The federation said on Friday all matches are on hold indefinitely.

Police said the predawn detonation of an explosive device placed on the hood of the car caused extensive damage.

The federation earlier condemned the attack against referee Andreas Constantinou’s vehicle as an “act of terrorism” that breeds fear among referees and harms the sport.

The Cyprus Referees’ Association strongly criticized what it called “ill-advised” remarks by officials and sports journalists targeting referees that “only pour fuel on the fire” by potentially prompting such attacks.

The association urged journalists to fairly critique referees instead of hurling “incendiary remarks.”

The development comes in the wake of fresh match-fixing allegations amid what UEFA said was suspicious betting activity on three second-division matches and a pair of cup matches.

The allegations prompted a pledge by Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades to clean up the sport.

“We’ll no longer tolerate some criminal elements who have nothing to do with the sport to blacken the name of Cypriot football and of the country,” Anastasiades said ahead of a Cyprus Sports Journalists’ Union event.

Cyprus Justice Minister George Savvides was holding an impromptu meeting on Friday with soccer federation boss Giorgos Koumas and Police Chief Kypros Michaelides to discuss the match-fixing allegations.