‘Arsonists’ and ‘firemen’ | Policeman dies in heat of Cypriot riot

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Limassol, Cyprus | With clubs reeling from debt, persistent fan violence and racism, Cypriot football managed to hit “rock bottom” Saturday with a policeman’s death, 27 injuries and six arrests stemming from a post-match riot between supporters’ groups, the Cyprus Mail reports. Marios Malekkou, 43, died of a heart attack while carrying an injured police officer to an ambulance. Hostilities before the game between long-standing rivals AEL Limassol and APOEL Nicosia augured poorly. The Mail quotes threats from AEL supporters directed toward the “Portokali” (Orange) of APOEL: “You orange sons of whores! You will die, death to the last orange supporter, we want your passports should you dare to come you cowards.”

Rival supporters’ groups blamed the other for triggering the riot, during which crowds threw stones at police and set fire to stands. Before the match, police found 103 Molotov cocktails and 18 smoke grenades inside the AEL stadium. “I don’t know what to do about the problem anymore,” said Justice Minister Doros Theodorou.I think it is time for all of us to change our attitudes. It is time we all understand it is a fine line between becoming a parent, an arsonist or a fireman.”

About the Author

John Turnbull founded The Global Game in 2003. He was lead editor for The Global Game: Writers on Soccer (University of Nebraska Press, 2008) and has also written on soccer for Afriche e Orienti (Bologna, Italy), the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the New York Times Goal blog, Soccer and Society, So Foot (Paris) and When Saturday Comes. His essay "Alone in the Woods: The Literary Landscape of Soccer's 'Last Defender' " in World Literature Today was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Also for World Literature Today he edited a special section on women's soccer, "World Cup/World Lit 2011," before the Women's World Cup in Germany. The section appeared in the May-June issue. His next project is a book on soccer and faith.

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