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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 97-11-11

Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, November 11, 1997


  • [01] Holbrooke rules out early breakthrough
  • [02] Denktash 'minister' on Interpol list over Solomou killing
  • [03] The Diko Five leave with pride intact
  • [04] Galanos stands by his criticism of Kyprianou
  • [05] Recognition a must, says Gurel
  • [06] Minister grilled on overtime, taxes, and tenders
  • [07] Lefkara doctor on hunger strike
  • [08] Committee blasts no-show ministers
  • [09] Death penalty references to be removed
  • [10] CA talks `broken down'
  • [11] New dispute at Azur Hotel
  • [12] Keep protest peaceful, organisers urge
  • [13] Dentist says amalgam fillings can cause mercury build-up
  • [14] Man rescued after boat blaze
  • [15] Referee takes centre stage in 3-hour match

  • [01] Holbrooke rules out early breakthrough

    By Andrew Adamides

    United States presidential envoy for Cyprus Richard Holbrooke was cautious on his arrival at Larnaca Airport last night, saying he did "not expect any breakthroughs".

    To all effects, Holbrooke was reiterating statements made by US State Department Cyprus co-ordinator Thomas Miller, who said after his morning meeting with President Glafcos Clerides, that there would "not be spectacular results overnight".

    In his brief press conference last night, Holbrooke said he was glad that Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash had agreed to meet with him and to attend a joint meeting at the Ledra Palace hotel this morning, saying the fact that "both men are willing to continue talking about issues of immense complexity" was positive.

    He added that the US "is committed to using whatever influence it has to assist the two communities" in the search for a solution. Holbrooke also stressed the fact that his visit had come about after five meetings with Denktash in Washington and three telephone calls to Clerides.

    He also denied that the visit had anything to do with the upcoming Cypriot presidential elections, noting that there "was always" a pre-election campaign in Cyprus, Greece, Turkey or the US.

    Asked about the purpose of his visit to Moscow, from where he flew to Nicosia, Holbrooke said it had nothing to do with the S-300 missiles, and that he had been in Moscow on personal business. He had not met with any Russian officials, he said, and was only now "wearing the hat as the President's emissary."

    On the subject of European Union accession prospects for both Cyprus and Turkey, Holbrooke said he was "delighted" by the prospects of Cyprus' accession and repeated the US position on Turkey's accession saying "Even though we (the US) cannot tell the EU who should join, we believe that Turkey should ultimately be a member".

    He concluded by reiterating Miller's earlier position that for confidential talks to bring about results, they should remain confidential and repeated that "there would be no final solutions in the coming hours" before excusing himself to leave for his meeting with Clerides at the Presidential Palace.

    Holbrooke met Clerides for more than an hour last night and then headed to the occupied part of Nicosia for a meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash. No comments were made following the meeting with President Clerides.

    This is Holbrooke's first visit to the island since his appointment by US President Bill Clinton in the summer. It has sparked speculation as to the content of the meetings, which Miller specified were "discussions, not negotiations". Washington has said the agenda is open.

    Diplomatic sources have said that Holbrooke's strategy will be to try and improve the Turkish prospects for EU accession, while at the same time persuade the two sides to consider a joint EU delegation for Cyprus.

    [02] Denktash 'minister' on Interpol list over Solomou killing

    By Jean Christou

    TWO SENIOR 'officials' of the Denktash regime have been put on Interpol's list of those wanted for questioning in connection with the death of Greek Cypriot protestor Solomos Solomou.

    According to yesterday's Turkish Cypriot press 'Agriculture Minister' Kenan Akin and 'Commander of the Special Police Force' Erdan Emanet are being sought in connection with the killing.

    Solomou, 26, was shot three times while climbing a Turkish flagpole on August 14 last year in the Dherynia buffer zone.

    Six international arrest warrants were issued by the

    government last year for five Turks and Turkish Cypriots suspected of involvement in the killing.

    Bullets from two different types of gun were found in his body.

    Warrants have been issued against Akin, Emanet, Turkish Cypriot 'police chief' Atil Asan, the former commander of the Turkish forces in Cyprus Hassan Kundakci, and the commander of the 28th Turkish Army division, Mehmet Karli.

    Akin was made 'agriculture minister' three days after the killing. He is clearly seen in news photographs standing on a balcony pointing his pistol at Solomou.

    In an interview with Turkey's Sabah daily newspaper and on Star TV on Sunday night, Akin reportedly said: "I didn't do it and I was not at the scene of the event. But had I been there, I would have done this honourable deed."

    In a previous interview, Akin called Solomou "a dog".

    Turkish Cypriot papers said yesterday numerous phone calls protesting about Akin's statements had been received by the TV station.

    Sabah said the Greek Cypriots have offered a reward for Akin's arrest "in order to mobilise both police and citizens should Akin leave the confines of the TRNC".

    [03] The Diko Five leave with pride intact

    By Charlie Charalambous

    DIKO ministers, torn between their party and the government, were yesterday given the honourable way out by President Clerides.

    The five ministers, who had pledged to stay on a few more days after submitting their resignations, suffered a crisis of conscience when their party boss Spyros Kyprianou asked them to withdraw immediately following Clerides' decision last Thursday to run for a second presidential term.

    Clerides had persuaded the five outgoing ministers - Andreas Moushouttas (Labour), Costas Eliades (Defence), Dinos Michaelides (Interior), Costas Petrides (Agriculture) and Kyriacos Christofi (Commerce) - to remain until the Council of Ministers completed its business at a meeting scheduled for tomorrow.

    Having resigned but also having agreed to stay on, the ministers were less than enthusiastic with Kyprianou's order to stand down before the business of government was wrapped up.

    Faced with the no-win situation of either letting down the party or the government, Clerides yesterday offered a get-out clause to the harassed ministers.

    He called the Diko five to the Presidential Palace and told them he accepted their resignation and there would be no need for them to attend the cabinet meeting.

    Speaking on behalf of the five, a relieved Dinos Michaelides said afterwards: "We leave with dignity and pride."

    But Michaelides refrained from divulging whether Kyprianou had given them a stern ultimatum to quit.

    "The decisions were taken, they were accepted, and any bitter feelings or other thoughts belong in the past," Michaelides said.

    The ministers will officially hand over their positions to the incoming appointees tomorrow morning. They will be sworn in on the same day.

    Clerides has hinted that the new ministers will not necessarily come from his Disy party, although there are no apparent front-runners for a job with a four-month expiry date.

    In view of the new arrangements the cabinet meeting previously scheduled for tomorrow has now been put back until Friday.

    [04] Galanos stands by his criticism of Kyprianou

    Staff Reporter

    FORMER Diko vice president Alexis Galanos, throwing the gauntlet at party president Spyros Kyprianou, said yesterday he stood by his criticism of the party leadership and would not bow to "intellectual terrorism".

    The outburst came the day after Galanos gave a fiercely critical interview to Phileleftheros newspaper castigating his party and its leadership for leading supporters into deadlock over the presidential elections.

    Speaking to reporters at the House of Representatives, Galanos spoke of orchestrated efforts to issue open letters against him with the ultimate aim of forcing him into resigning from Diko.

    He dismissed these anticipated 'protests' as an attempt to disorientate and deflect attention from the real situation within the party.

    He defended his comments to Phileleftheros, including the remark that "Kyprianou is obsessed by the passion for power".

    "I only repeated what Mr Kyprianou has said on several occasions on television about his passion for the presidency. And I voiced some of my conclusions, which is within the rights of everyone's free speech," he said.

    Galanos said he sensed an attempt to muzzle him and exercise intellectual terrorism against anyone who expresses a critical view.

    "My conscience is clear. I believe I am expressing the views of the vast majority of the grassroots of Diko. My advice to Mr Kyprianou, whom I supported from very early on, from the days when the Greek junta was trying to exercise intellectual terrorism against him, is to take the necessary unifying action in the party and to enter into consultations with all Diko members," Galanos said.

    Kyprianou must show he can tolerate constructive criticism, and not accept only praise and flattery, he added.

    Galanos has had numerous run-ins with Kyprianou recently. In his controversial interview on Sunday, the Diko deputy for Famagusta said the party was not Kyprianou's private or exclusive club. And he said he was convinced Diko has been split in two - half would vote for Glafcos Clerides irrespective of what Kyprianou said, while the other half would never vote for the incumbent president.

    Galanos also called for a change in leadership at Diko and for Kyprianou to accept his responsibilities because he had "misunderstood the party as being his".

    [05] Recognition a must, says Gurel

    By Jean Christou

    THE existence of the 'TRNC' must be recognised if a lasting settlement is to be reached in Cyprus, according to Turkish Minister of State Sukru Gurel.

    Third parties interested in the Cyprus issue and the Greek Cypriot side should "accept these political facts", Gurel told a news conference in occupied Nicosia.

    He was speaking after a one-day visit to the north with Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem.

    Cem did not answer questions during the news conference, which was held jointly with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash. However on his arrival Cem had said a federation could only be established between states.

    "There is talk of a federation. You will recognise one of the sides as a community and the other side as a state, then you will ask this one state and one community to form a federation: there cannot be a worse approach. There is no other example like this in history. We have tried and are trying to explain this," Turkish Cypriot press reports quoted Cem as saying.

    Denktash told journalists he was prepared to make a new partnership agreement on equal terms based on bi-zonality.

    He also said he hoped "the Greek Cypriot side will give up its claim of being the government of the whole of Cyprus and will agree to the commencement of talks between the two sides on equal terms".

    He reportedly appealed to the Greek Cypriot side not to misunderstand his goodwill, and said: "Come and let us settle this problem between us as two Cypriot peoples and states."

    No documents were signed at the meeting. "The Turkish Cypriot side will determine the steps it will take only after the EU adopts a decision on the issue of Greek Cypriot membership," Denktash said. "The Greek Cypriots should know that they do not and will not have any rights over our government."

    Kibris said Denktash would put forward the recognition issue as a precondition to resuming negotiations on the Cyprus problem, and that the Turkish Cypriot leader would be announcing his demand during the current visit of US presidential emissary Richard Holbrooke.

    It said this decision was taken during his meeting with Cem and Gurel.

    Opposition party leaders Mehmet Ali Talat and Mustafa Akinci, who were not invited to the meeting, criticised the decision.

    "To raise the recognition issue as a precondition for resumption of talks will be tantamount to leaving the negotiating table as the party accused of being intransigent," Akinci said.

    Talat said: "International public opinion will not allow this," and added the Turkish Cypriots should be flexible and leave room to manoeuvre.

    [06] Minister grilled on overtime, taxes, and tenders

    By Bouli Hadjioannou

    OVERTIME in the customs department will be reviewed and government officials and deputies will together decide on ways to cut down protracted tenders procedures which waste both time and money.

    These were two points to emerge from yesterday's review by the House Finance Committee of the Finance Ministry's 1998 budget.

    The briefing also saw Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou announce significant progress in the collection of back taxes by the Inland Revenue Department.

    He said computerisation and a marked change in the way officials treat taxpayers had reaped rewards. "Officials have befriended the taxpayer. They offer help and assistance and where the difference is small, they have instructions and cover to give the taxpayer the benefit of the doubt," he said. "This policy has paid off."

    Questioned about overtime pay, particularly in the customs department, Christodoulou said he was aware of claims that some employees worked slowly during office hours in order to stay on in the afternoon to earn extra cash.

    But he said this allegation was not supported by the facts, and has also been rejected by the employees themselves who had taken offence at the suggestion.

    The minister said he had told employees he had no problem accepting their word, but added that the government had an obligation to carry out its own survey on overtime procedures.

    Christodoulou said the government was determined to cut down on overtime: its rate of growth has been slashed from 18 per cent a year to 8 per cent in the past five years in the public sector (not including semi-government organisations).

    The customs department in particular has cut overtime in absolute figures this year, director Antis Tryfonides told the committee.

    Considerable time was also spent yesterday discussing flaws in tenders procedures, with deputies giving numerous examples of wasted time and money.

    Takis Hadjidemetriou of Edek described one three-year attempt to buy a fork- lift truck for the National Guard. The tender kept being announced and then withdrawn, and then when the deal was made three employees had to travel abroad to visit the factory. The truck was finally bought, he said - but now the company wants more money.

    Edek colleague Doros Theodorou said this was only the tip of the iceberg. Overcentralisation led to significant delays, which were especially obvious in the health and defence sectors where requirements are urgent. He suggested decentralisation would be one way to minimise delays.

    The minister did not deny there were problems, some in-built in the system, others the result of disagreements between different government departments. He cited as an example the continuing row between the state warehouse and the National Guard over chemical tests on textiles for uniforms.

    And he said some officials were so afraid of being accused of colluding with suppliers that they hold up the entire tenders procedure.

    New draft regulations may prove helpful, but the minister doubted they could present instant results. Hence the decision for deputies and government officials to get together to come up with proposed solutions.

    [07] Lefkara doctor on hunger strike

    By Jean Christou

    THE SOLE doctor at the Lefkara outpatients clinic yesterday began a hunger strike over what he claims are appalling conditions there.

    General surgeon Polydoros Polydorou said he was beginning an indefinite hunger strike in protest at the lack of facilities at the rural Larnaca clinic.

    Polydorou cited lack of staff and equipment, including ambulances, and long working hours with the doctor forced to work 32 hours at a stretch with no nurses were available outside clinic hours.

    Lefkara Mayor Sophoclis Sophocleous, who is backing Polydorou's action, stressed the need for the proper equipment to be provided at the clinic and the appointment of extra staff.

    He said it was the duty of the Health Ministry to equip the clinic properly and provide 24-hour medical care to Lefkara residents.

    But the Health Ministry yesterday denied Polydorou was overworked. An announcement said he has been employed on a contract basis since September 1994 and was afforded all the free time allotted under the contract.

    As regards the other problems raised by Polydorou in a letter to the ministry on November 5, the announcement said discussing them had now become impossible because of his hunger strike, and if the situation continued they would be obliged to "take measures".

    In a separate incident a Greek Orthodox priest staged a hunger strike outside a Nicosia convent at the weekend, claiming his daughter had been brainwashed into becoming a nun.

    Papakyriacos Tryfonos, a priest from the Paphos village of Letymbou, began his hunger strike in the hope it would force the Abbess of the Ayios Iraklidios convent to allow him to see his 23-year-old daughter, Nectaria.

    The priest claimed she had brainwashed into becoming a nun and denounced the Church authorities for allowing it to happen.

    The Abbess of the convent has declined comment.

    Nectaria, a philosophy graduate from the University of Cyprus who recently taught at a Nicosia kindergarten "had never shown any leanings toward a monastic life", her father told reporters at the weekend.

    He said she had received several proposals of marriage and the family had already built her a house as dowry for her future wedding.

    After Nectaria spent early August with friends at an Archbishopric campsite in Kakopetria, she telephoned her father telling him she was investigating job opportunities in Nicosia - but entered the convent instead.

    Subsequent legal efforts by the family to secure her release failed.

    An emotional 10-minute visit between Nectaria and her family took place on Sunday in the convent courtyard in the presence of the policeman, ending Papakyriacos' hunger strike. Nectaria asked for more time to reconsider her decision, reports said.

    [08] Committee blasts no-show ministers

    By Bouli Hadjioannou

    TWO DIKO ministers, in limbo after their party told them to withdraw from the Clerides government, did not show up at yesterday's House Finance Committee's meeting to discuss their ministries' budgets for 1998.

    Their absence drew fire from some deputies, with Akel's Kikis Kazamias speaking of possible contempt of the House.

    Commerce and Industry Minister Kyriakos Christofi was scheduled to appear before the committee at 9am. Dinos Moushouttas, his counterpart at the Labour Ministry, was due at 11.30.

    Both are among the five Diko ministers to have submitted their resignations to President Clerides. Diko president Spyros Kyprianou has demanded that all five leave the government immediately.

    The committee tried to get in touch with both men, only to be told they would not be coming. It then decided to postpone examination of the two budgets until new ministers are appointed.

    But this decision was not taken until after some deputies had voiced concern over developments.

    Committee chairman Alexis Galanos, who is also in Diko, said he did not want to criticise anyone because he appreciated the two men had come under pressure not to attend.

    But he said ministers were members of the Clerides government and should not be subject to pressure. "I appreciate it is because of the climate: I do not blame them - it's not their fault," he said.

    And he said party concerns should not affect responsibilities arising from holding a public position.

    Akel deputy was Kikis Kazamias was more blunt: he said that as long as they retained the position of minister, failure to turn up to the committee meeting "could be considered contempt of the House of Representatives".

    And he added: "They asked us to examine the most important bill sent to the House but they are absent," he said.

    [09] Death penalty references to be removed

    AKEL Limassol Deputy Yiannakis Agapiou yesterday accused the European Parliament of constantly finding issues to hinder Cyprus membership of the European Union.

    "I am disturbed," said Agapiou, president of the House Human Rights Committee. "First it was homosexuality, now it's the death penalty."

    He was speaking during a Committee discussion of a European Parliament resolution on the abolition of the death penalty.

    But he was reassured by spokesmen for the Justice Ministry that the European Parliament is merely a consultative body, and that its resolutions are only meant as advisory.

    In Cyprus the death penalty for murder, treason against the Crown and piracy existed on the statute books until 1983, when it was replaced with imprisonment for life.

    References to the death penalty continued to exist on paper in some areas of the penal code, however, even though they were not enforced in practice. The committee heard that these were remnants of British colonial rule and remained due to a bureaucratic oversight.

    Justice Ministry representatives told the committee yesterday that a bill to eradicate such references was being drafted and would be brought before the House of Representatives soon.

    The death penalty for serious offences during wartime also exists in the Cypriot military penal code. There is no requirement for its abolition, however, since there is a similar provision in EU law.

    [10] CA talks `broken down'

    CYPRUS Airways pilots' union Pasipy said yesterday negotiations for renewal of their collective agreement with the airline had broken down.

    A union statement said an impasse had been reached in the negotiations, and laid the blame at the door of the Labour Ministry.

    The union complained that talks had been going on for 11 months without success, and it accused the ministry of taking the company's side.

    "We cannot allow our goodwill to be interpreted or allowed to be used as weakness," the Pasipy statement said.

    It added that the union has no other option but to leave open the possibility of taking measures to protect the interests of its members.

    No one was available to comment from the airline's management.

    [11] New dispute at Azur Hotel

    NEW differences between staff unions and management yesterday threatened the uneasy truce reached last week at the Azur Hotel in Limassol.

    Eleven of the employees who returned to work under the agreement mediated by outgoing Labour Minister Andreas Moushouttas are now demanding to be paid in accordance with the collective agreement the unions have with hotel owner Yiorgos Tsanos.

    Tsanos, however, has refused to pay them on this basis. He claims that the conditions under which he accepted the settlement did not provide for workers to be paid under the conditions of the collective agreement, but rather on a personal contract basis.

    He said this meant that terms and conditions would be negotiated directly between him and the workers.

    Peo and Sek have claimed that this violates employees' rights. Further negotiations are expected to be held to resolve the new dispute.

    [12] Keep protest peaceful, organisers urge

    ORGANISERS of Saturday's anti-occupation demonstration yesterday urged participants to protest peacefully.

    Aris Hadjipanayiotou, a representative of the co-ordinating committee for the `Return March', said yesterday the aim of the demonstration it to reiterate the "inalienable right of refugees to return to their homes".

    He called on all protestors to keep the demonstration peaceful.

    The plan, involving 22 refugee organisations, is for hundreds to load up their cars with their belongings and drive home to the occupied areas.

    They will meet at Nicosia's Makarios Stadium at 9am.

    The `Return March' is only one of two major demonstrations planned for Saturday, the anniversary of the unilateral declaration of independence by the breakaway Turkish Cypriot regime in the north.

    The Cyprus Motorcyclists Association is also organising a demonstration on Saturday. Bikers have already set out from Greece and will meet up in Dherynia for a planned ride to Eleftheria Square in Nicosia.

    Unficyp is gearing itself up to prepare for the glut of demonstrations - students' organisation also plan a Ledra Palace protest - on Saturday.

    The UN force is in close contact with Cypriot police with whom they are co- operating.

    Police Chief Panicos Hadjiloizou said yesterday all police units would be mobilised on Saturday to avert any incidents.

    During his televised press conference last Thursday President Clerides sad the government welcomed peaceful rallies, but he warned against creating tension which could affect efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.

    [13] Dentist says amalgam fillings can cause mercury build-up

    By Aline Davidian

    A NICOSIA dentist has taken a stand against amalgam fillings, saying they can lead to a build-up of mercury in the body.

    But this theory is not supported either by the World Health Organisation (WHO) or the Dental Association of Cyprus.

    Hovsep Sarkissian is one of the few dentists on the island to shy away from amalgam fillings, preferring instead to use a synthetic compound.

    "For sure mercury is released from amalgam fillings, depending on factors such as temperature or grinding," said Sarkissian. He believes this leakage then leads to deposits of mercury in different tissues, "in direct correlation to the number of fillings" in the patient's teeth.

    The theory is based on studies carried out in Canada and Sweden. In experiments radioactive compounds were injected into sheep, and the animals' organs were found to contain a high level of mercury. This was particularly true of the liver, the main body's detoxification organ.

    Chronic mercury poisoning attacks the immune system, and Sarkissian says the cause of such degenerative symptoms is rarely attributed to mercury so that treatment cannot be offered to sufferers.

    Tests on aborted foetuses in Europe have also shown that mercury from a mother's amalgam fillings can reach the unborn child through the placenta. The metal is deposited in the developing foetus at a much higher level than in adults, gathering in the brain and liver and blocking vital enzyme activity.

    Such results have led to restrictions on the use of amalgam fillings in Europe, with countries such as Germany requiring patients to sign a form absolving the dentist from responsibility before inserting amalgam fillings.

    Degussa, a German manufacturer of dental compounds, has stopped producing amalgam altogether, fearing potential legal action from patients with mercury poisoning.

    Despite this cautious stance by some European countries, the WHO believes amalgam fillings are safe. This is also the position of the Dental Association of Cyprus, which takes its cue from the US and the UK.

    Ekaterini Savvidou, First Officer of the Cypriot Dental services, said further statistical surveys would be needed before mercury build-up in patients could be attributed to amalgam fillings.

    She attended a British Dental Association meeting this summer and talked with WHO representatives, but said that no concerns about amalgam fillings had been raised.

    Savvidou said that in Cyprus, amalgam fillings are only applied to cavities in molars and pre-molars, where they are hidden from view. Patients preferred to have synthetic fillings on front teeth for aesthetic reasons, she said.

    But Sarkissian is unconvinced. He maintains that the research cannot be ignored and has stopped applying amalgam fillings unless his patients specifically ask for them.

    He attributes the WHO's stance to a reluctance to cause alarm, as well as to the fact that amalgam substitutes are often technique-sensitive.

    "These require double the time to apply and may also erode in time," he said.

    [14] Man rescued after boat blaze

    A DRAMATIC sea rescue took place off Limassol Bay at around 10.20am yesterday, after a member of the British Bases canoe club reported seeing distress flares.

    A helicopter from 84 Air Sea Rescue Squadron at Akrotiri was scrambled, and a rescue boat from 417 Maritime Troop was also sent.

    Two miles out to sea, they found the Cypriot-registered 14- metre vessel the Lovers, which was on fire and sinking. Its lone occupant, a Cypriot, was in the water nearby, having abandoned ship.

    The unnamed occupant was recovered by the rescue boat and taken to Akrotiri hospital, where he was found to be unharmed by his experience.

    "His boat had completely upended, with only six feet of the bow above water. There was debris all over the water and it looked quite spectacular, " said Flight Lieutenant Martin Othen, the helicopter pilot.

    [15] Referee takes centre stage in 3-hour match

    By George Christou

    BIZARRE refereeing decisions were the only talking point of the weekend, especially after Sunday night's Limassol clash which finished more then 3 hours after the kick-off.

    Anorthosis won the game 1-0 thanks to a 36th minute penalty, converted by Boban Krismarevic, later at the centre of the controversy which led to 70- minute stoppage at the end of the first half.

    The trouble started in the dying seconds of the first half, when Krismarevic deliberately handled the ball and referee Ali Ahmed showed him a yellow card. Ahmed, mistakenly, thought this was the Serb's second booking and therefore showed him the red card as well.

    All hell broke loose after this, with Anorthosis' players surrounding the referee to tell him he had made a mistake. Given that handball is a yellow card offence, Ahmed had to admit his mistake and allow Krismarevic back on to the field.

    Once he took this decision, he was surrounded by Apoel's players and officials who claimed that the red card should stand. These exchanges lasted longer than an hour, with every Tom, Dick and Harry coming on to the pitch to tell Ahmed how to do his job.

    It was all too much for the referee, who was unable to continue and left the pitch visibly shaken. He was replaced by the reserve official Constantinou. Everyone has put the blame for what had happened on Ahmed, but this is too simplistic a view to take.

    He was mistaken in sending off Krismarevic, but corrected his mistake as soon as he realised what he had done. This enraged Apoel's players and officials, who felt the referee was openly favouring Anorthosis, and they surrounded him demanding that he allowed the red card to stand.

    Part of the blame for the chaos at the Tsirion on Sunday night should be put on the footballers and club officials, who made it extremely difficult for Ahmed to do his job, both before and after the mistaken sending off.

    Why did Apoel players and officials surround the referee, insisting that Krismarevic should stay off, when they knew that the red card had been shown by mistake? Did they contribute to a quick resumption of the game with this behaviour? Of course not, but as usual the referee had to shoulder all the blame.

    If anything the referee's biggest mistake was that he did not ask the police to clear the pitch so the game could resume after the Krismarevic affair had been sorted out. He may even have tried to do this, but was not helped by the police.

    He was certainly not helped by the players. When he awarded the penalty kick in the 36th minute Apoel's players surrounded him, pushing and pulling him. These physical intimidation tactics caused a four-minute interruption and the referee was certainly not at fault for awarding a penalty, after Satchias pushed over Melanarkitis.

    If Melanarkitis had dived to win the penalty, the referee could not be held responsible because a player had deceived him. While players are never criticised for diving and cheating, the referee is expected to make a correct decision in a split second and without the benefit of TV replays!

    Coaches do not help things, often using refereeing mistakes to deflect attention from the inadequacies of their side. Apoel coach Kurt Jara's outburst against the referee was a case in point. He said after the game:

    "All the work we do at training is destroyed by refereeing mistakes. I came to Cyprus to try to win the league championship with Apoel, but it appears that title has already been decided. We are now eight points behind and if the referees continue to help the leaders so much then I believe the league championship is over from now."

    Could it have been the referee's fault that Anorthosis' keeper Panayiotou pulled off three miraculous saves from efforts by Fasouliotis, Ioannou and Hadjiloucas in the second half, which was completely dominated by Apoel, to keep his side in the game? Panayiotou also came to the rescue in the first half, beating away a powerful shot by Hertnagl.

    That Apoel had the chances to draw, or even win, the game, but did not take them was not the referee's fault. Kurt Jara has been in football long enough to know this.

    Anorthosis' best chances came in the opening 10 minutes when, Apoel defenders were twice forced to clear the ball off the goal-line with keeper Petrides beaten, first by Krismarevic and then by Melanarkitis.

    In the final analysis, ignoring the refereeing, Apoel, despite their second half domination, were unable to break down the Anorthosis defence and ended up without any points.

    Much poorer refereeing, which had a direct effect on the outcome of the game, was seen on Saturday night in the Larnaca game between second-placed Apollonas and Alki.

    Apollonas, trailing 2-1, scored twice in the last 13 minutes of the game to win 3-2. Four minutes before Spoliaric levelled for Apollonas, Alki had been reduced to 10 men, after one of the silliest sendings off ever seen.

    Dimitrov had gone off the field to receive treatment and then waited on the line to be allowed back on to the field by referee, Minas Hadjicharalambous. Dimitrov may have ventured a few inches inside the line, which the referee, in his stupidity, considered a bookable offence.

    Dimitrov was shown his second yellow card and was not allowed to return to the game. Five minutes from time, with Alki down to 10 men, Vata powered in the winner. Alki had taken the lead in the 25th minute through Delabudin and Charlambous had equalised. Delabudin gave his side the lead again on the stroke of half-time.

    In a Sunday game Salamina came back from a goal down to defeat Evagoras 3-1 and rise to sixth place in the table.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1997

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