17.01.2020 18:04 h

Cypriot football fixtures called off as refs strike over bomb attack

The Cyprus Football Association on Friday decided to call off all fixtures indefinitely after referees went on strike in response to a bomb attack against one of their members.

The CFA said in a statement that all games were postponed across all divisions, condemning the bombing in the southern coastal town of Larnaca as "an act of terror".

It said the incident was a blow to Cypriot football as a whole and created a "climate of fear" among referees.

A bomb explosion in Larnaca damaged a car belonging to 33-year-old referee Andreas Constantinou.

In an announcement, the Cyprus Referees Association said it stood by their man and his family while calling on officials and the media to refrain from "pouring oil on the fire" with overcritical comments about referees.

The disruption comes as Cyprus is probing match-fixing allegations.

On Monday, European football governing body UEFA sent fives notifications where suspicious betting trends were monitored. These allegations are under Cyprus police investigation.

Cypriot media reported that UEFA has sent the country's FA a total of 84 notifications regarding match-fixing since 2011 with zero convictions.

Earlier this month, top-flight club Omonia Nicosia called on the European and world football governing bodies UEFA and FIFA to intervene against corruption in the local game.

Omonia wants UEFA and FIFA to investigate the matter and in the meanwhile suspend Cypriot teams from all international competition.

Omonia said in a statement it has "collected enough evidence over the years to persuade UEFA and FIFA to open a case about football in Cyprus".

This is not the first time games have been called off in Cyprus. In 2015 the CFA postponed all matches under its jurisdiction for one week after referees came out on strike following a bomb attack.

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