3 arrested after soccer fans invade pitch, clash in Cyprus

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Three individuals were arrested after opposing groups totaling about 30 people invaded the pitch during a top-flight soccer match in Cyprus and hurled rocks and flares at each other, police said Monday.

Police said in a statement the individuals in custody, aged 17, 23, and 25, are being investigated on charges of unlawful entry in a sports facility, assault, illegal assembly and attacking a police officer.

The 25 year-old invader was treated at a private clinic for a broken nose.

The clash happened approximately 20 minutes into Sunday's match between Apollonas Limassol and visiting APOEL Nicosia.

Riot police with the help of Tsirion stadium security officials intervened to break up the fighting.

Police said they also had to use a water cannon and tear gas to disperse Apollonas fans who threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at officers outside the stadium following the match, which APOEL won 1-0 after being awarded a penalty in injury time.

Prior to the game, a small group of Apollonas fans attacked a police officer directing traffic outside the stadium.

Police earlier this month had warned club presidents of increasing violent incidents taking place inside and outside the stadiums during both league and European matches that are putting spectators and others at risk.

Deputy Police Chief Ioannis Georgiou said police would be forced to ban visiting team fans from travelling on away games if the situation doesn’t improve and urged club owners to step up security.

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The Associated Press