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A disgrace.

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Sorry this is long winded but it just goes to show what can happen.


Dear Sir/Madam.

On the 17th January 2009 I was an assistant referee at the match between Avgarou and Leopetri, the other assistant was Karakis and the referee was Panicos Nicolou.

During the game there were a number of incidents and the referee was having difficulty controlling the players, substitutes and team officials. On more than one occasion players, substitutes and team officials surrounded the referee shouting and gesticulating at him following decisions he had made. I had to enter the field of play on three occasions to assist the referee in controlling the players.

At one point during the second half of play the referee ordered two people to the stands, one of these was standing behind me inside the security fencing and I believe was a spectator. When the referee spoke to him and ordered him to the stands he became extremely aggressive and was being held back by others as he was attempting to assault the referee.

Another incident was following a tackle. Before the referee was able to take action, players were running to the area where the foul took place and were pushing and pulling each other, again they were surrounding the referee shouting in his face.

It was during the last few minutes of the game when the situation became completely undisciplined. The referee sent off the goalkeeper for Leopetri, and at that moment, the two were approximately thirty yards away from each other. I saw the keeper run from the goal toward the referee, at the same time a number of the players surrounded the referee and were pulling and pushing him shouting directly at him. Players were holding the keeper back as he attempted to get to the referee. I was concerned his safety and ran on to the pitch to try and assist him. I saw the referee’s match book and cards thrown to the floor but I was unable to see who removed them from his pocket as he was surrounded by players and officials from both teams. Whilst trying to assist him I was also pushed away by people, one of whom I believe was another spectator who had come down from the stand. This was frightening as we were surrounded by about 15 people all shouting, pushing and attempting to get to the referee, more were getting involved including some of the spectators and I was very concerned for our safety.

The match card and record book taken from the referee’s pocket were picked up by a spectator, I called to the person to hand them to me and he refused and became aggressive. I followed him as he made his way toward the group of people surrounding the referee, I saw him take the match records from inside the folder, put them in his pocket and he then handed the folder to somebody else before running off.

The referee had no choice other than to abandon the game following which he was still being harassed by players, team officials and spectators. This continued for some time after which I went back to the referees changing room, where, to my disgust I found that some one had entered our room and removed my bag. I had no idea where it was and was very concerned as it contained my wallet, money, mobile phone, car keys and referees equipment.

I immediately approached one of the club officials and stated that if it was not found and returned intact within 5 minutes I would be contacting the Police as this was theft. The official returned shortly after with my kit bag and some of my belongings and he informed me that it was found thrown around the car park.

I was, to say the least, livid and quickly checked inside the bag and found some items missing so I went to the car park to see if I could locate them and whilst there I was again shouted at by players and spectators.

I was unable to understand most of what was being said as it was in Greek.

I returned to the changing room where I found the referee and other assistant surrounded by about 6 people, they were shouting and gesticulating at the officials, this continued for some 15 minutes before we were able to clear the room.

It was not until later that I was able to check the contents of my kit bag and found the following items to be missing.

1. An old English 2p coin which I had been using for over 25 years at the start of a game and which had sentimental value.

2. A French coin which was also very old, again I had this coin for a lot of years.

3. 50 match cards used to record match facts and cautions.

4. 2 biro pens.

5. 3 pencils.

6. 2 Adaptors for checking ball pressure.

7. A plastic finger whistle.

To conclude.

I played football for 15 years, and I have been a

qualified referee for the past 27 years. Prior to moving to Cyprus I have refereed professional, semi- professional and amateur footballers from all levels of the game.

I moved to Cyprus 4 years ago and have refereed on the English military bases since arriving and this is my first year in the Cyprus league.

I have to say that in all my years as a player and referee I have never seen such terrible behaviour toward officials, not only from the players but also the team officials and spectators.

I have never had anybody remove my equipment from a dressing room. This was a disgusting thing to do and the person responsible must be punished. The conduct of players, team officials and spectators was an absolute disgrace and something needs to be done to prevent this happening again. Officials cannot and must not be abused, insulted and assaulted in this manner and I trust appropriate action will be taken. This conduct will not stop me refereeing on the Cyprus leagues.

I have not given my address on this report and do not want it disclosed to anyone.

I will await your reply to say this report has been received and the subsequent action taken against the two teams.

Yours Sincerely

A. J. Bilsland – Class 5 referee.

This report will be submitted to the Cyprus FA I will await with interest to see what action they take.

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Best wishes, Tony, from the old St Just lino ! Sounds like this club in Cyprus needs me in my old role of lawyer for the Mafia to defend them against a few FA charges.....

Look on the bright side...imagine what might have happened if the referee had been Robin Gregory...we'd be making funeral arrangements !

Loved the island when I was there, especially Paphos. Take care. I shouldn't think they'll give you any real trouble ! You kept the car park in order at Treliske, after all,that can be a bit hairy at visiting times !

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Having read this, I emailed the link to my Cypriot friend. This was his response:

"These teams come from the two most backward, primitive, rude, disgusting villages of Cyprus - Avgorou and Liopetri! Actually the latter managed to kickout the police from their village and in 2004 they beat up the person running for Country presidency!

These things happen every week in the 4th division! the change with this report is that the referee was a foreigner and did not know what was coming!"

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Nothings changed since I last played in Cyprus then thirty odd years ago. They most certainly are a volatile lot. My memory might be fading but I think the villages are not far from Aya Napa and Famagusta. Could one be Turkish Cypriot and the other Greek Cypriot. Something tells me that back in the 50's there was a lot of terorist activity around that area and the brits are still not well liked even though the place is packed with ex pats buying up aprtments etc. Could be wrong.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

THE RESULT - The 2 clubs involved have been before the Cyprus FA and the following punishment followed the guilty verdict.

A total of 1200 + Euros in fines and 7 players banned for between 2 and 4 games.

I was not called to give evidence but the ref on the day stated my report was read out, yes a result to a point but I personally dont think the punishment was sufficient - still its over and done with now that is until the next time. :SM_carton:

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