NICOSIA — The Cyprus Referees’ Association on Monday said its members will boycott all domestic cup and league matches for one week in retaliation to a midnight bomb attack at the home of a referee’s mother.
Association chief Michalis Argyrou said the executive board will meet again in a week to decide whether to extend the boycott after sitting down with police officials to gauge progress in the investigation.
He said the association expects police “not to leave things to simple pronouncements'” but to proceed with an in-depth probe that will get to the bottom of the case and help protect match officials.
Argyrou said referees are fed up following the fourth bomb attack against one of their own this season.
The Cyprus Football Association condemned the attack against referee Thomas Mouskos’ mother’s home as “exceedingly cowardly” and an “act of terrorism.”
Police said the makeshift, high-yield explosive device went off outside the front door of the 60-year-old woman’s Limassol home shortly after midnight.
Senior police officer Ioannis Soteriades said the woman was unharmed because she was in an upstairs bedroom at the time of the blast. Soteriades said that Mouskos was under police protection after receiving threats against him.
Referees in Cyprus are often the target of insults and threats over perceived poor officiating or bias.
But the latest incident comes at a particularly sensitive time for Cyprus football after top ref Marios Panayi publicly came forward with match-rigging allegations that prompted Cyprus FA chief Costakis Koutsokoumnis to admit that the first division was plagued by the problem.
MENELAOS HADJICOSTIS, Associated Press