Seventeen hurt in outburst of soccer violence

CROWD violence marred a football game in Limassol on Sunday, with 16 policemen and one fan sustaining injuries amid a barrage of stones outside the Tsirio stadium.
Although the trouble had been largely anticipated — fans of the Apoel and Apollon clubs have a long-running history of mutual dislike — police were unable to prevent the disturbances after the final whistle. As the crowd walked out of the stadium, a group of home fans reportedly began hurling stones and sticks at departing Apoel supporters being escorted by police; that triggered the exchange, and the police officers were caught in the exchange.

Tear gas was fired to disperse the troublemakers, but not before 16 policemen and one fan had been injured. Apollon’s fan club protested against “excessive police force”, saying the use of tear gas was unnecessary; several people suffered respiratory problems and had to be taken to Limassol hospital for treatment.
Meanwhile other groups of youths went on a rampage around the stadium, breaking car windows or attacking rival supporters.

Six police cars were damaged.

Twelve people between the ages 16 and 30 were arrested and detained on charges of violence, while eight underage youths were detained for attempting to enter the stadium without tickets.

Stadium seats were also ripped out and hurled by fans after the game.

These were the worst disturbances so far this season, despite of the beefed-up police presence at the game. The football association has still not found a way of cracking down on hooliganism, and football clubs and the police force blame each other for failure to control the trouble.