Cyprus football referee targeted by bombing

Last updated 10:06 01/03/2014

Relevant offers

Europe

Brexit: Britain 'will regret' leaving EU, says One Direction singer Niall Horan Brexit: Donald Trump links Britain's decision to exit EU to his campaign Brexit: Second Scottish independence referendum 'highly likely' Recap: David Cameron quits, Boris Johnson celebrates, Scotland vows to fight after Brexit Brexit: Manawatu-based UK expats divided over results UK PM David Cameron will step down by October after Brexit vote Brexit: David Cameron's resignation to set off leadership scramble Brexit: Spain to seek co-sovereignity on Gibraltar after Britain's leave vote Ireland braces itself for political and economic turmoil after Brexit Brexit: Britain votes to leave the European Union after tight and bitter campaign

The football association in Cyprus has postponed all first division matches this weekend after a bombing damaged the car of a top referee.

An explosive device was placed on the hood of referee Leontios Trattos' car in a parking lot outside his apartment in a Nicosia suburb, police said. No one was injured in the pre-dawn blast, but his car and another vehicle were damaged.

The bombing comes ahead of a friendly between the United States and Ukraine next Wednesday that was moved from Kharkiv because of violence in Ukraine. It wasn't immediately clear why Trattos may have been targeted, but the Cypriot league is tightly contested this season and passions are running high among supporters.

Football in Cyprus is dogged by hooliganism, and referees, including Trattos, are often the target of abuse by overzealous fans. Unruly fans allegedly attacked Trattos after a local friendly last summer.

Trattos is the president of Cyprus' referees' association and he has overseen World Cup qualifiers, and Champions League and Europa League matches. Instantly recognisable with his shaved head, the 41-year-old Trattos is considered to be among Cyprus' best referees and is often called upon to handle some of the toughest domestic league matches.

The Cyprus Referees' Association said in a statement that previous appeals for authorities to protect their members from "cowardly masked bandits" have gone unheeded.

Both the football association and the country's top sports body condemned the bombing as a "terrorist attack." The players' association said it stands in full solidarity with Trattos and all other referees.

Ad Feedback

- AP

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content