The Greek Cypriot football club APOEL appealed to UEFA for a replacement of the Turkish referee trio assigned to the Dundelange match which will be held on Nov. 28.
UEFA, accepting APOEL’s political appeal on the grounds of Turkey’s military intervention in 1974, appointed Italian referee Gianluca Rocchi to the European League match against Dundelange.
The Greek Cypriot media also noted that a Turkish referee was appointed to the APOEL match for the first time after Turkey’s military intervention.
The APOEL team described Turkish referee Halis Özkahya’s appointment as unfortunate.
“It is unfortunate that Turkish referees have been appointed to APOEL’s match for the first time since 1974; however, we are also happy that UEFA understands the reason we request a change,” the club said in a statement.
The statement also thanked the chairman of the Greek Cyprus Football Federation.
APOEL Press Spokesman Nektarios Petevinos said that UEFA has not appointed any Turkish referee to Greek Cypriot teams’ matches before and that this time it was thought-provoking.
In his own words, the spokesman of the club claimed an occupation in Cyprus. “UEFA has shown similar problems with countries such as Russia and Ukraine,” he said.
APOEL fans are known as politically right-wing in their majority, although there are no strong ties between any political party allegedly.
Cyprus has been divided into a Turkish Cypriot government in the northern third and Greek Cypriot administration in the south since a 1974 military coup aimed at Cyprus’ annexation by Greece.
Turkey’s military intervention as a guarantor power in 1974 had stopped years-long persecution and violence against Turkish Cypriots by ultra-nationalist Greek Cypriots.