A TURKISH Cypriot football team has threatened to apply for membership of the Cyprus Football Association (CFA) if the football authorities in the north don’t lift a 13-match ban on the team for crowd trouble.

Currently there are no Turkish Cypriot teams in CFA, but Lefke Football Club says it will apply to the association after a falling out with the ‘Turkish Cypriot Football Federation’ (KTFF).

Lefke was initially given a 10-match ban and an approximately €6,000 fine for violence that broke out at the end of a final match against Nicosia team Cetinkaya on April 20. Last Wednesday it appealed to the KTFF to have the ban and the fines reduced. However, rather than reducing the penalty, the KTFF decided to double the financial penalty and increase the match ban to 13.

According to reports, Lefke was winning the final on April 20 by one goal to nil, when seconds before the final whistle a penalty was awarded to Cetinkaya. Lefke fans reacted by invading the pitch and the match was abandoned. The disciplinary committee of KKFF later handed the match to Cetinkaya and recorded the result as 3-0 to the Nicosia team.

Yesterday, spokesman for the Lefke team Erkut Oner told the Cyprus Mail the team was serious about applying to the CFA, saying: “We will try once again to have the penalties lifted, or at least reduced. If they are not we will go to the CFA”.

Oner said there was little hope that the Turkish Cypriot courts would support the team’s request, adding that KTFF officials had already warned the team that if it went to court over the issue, it would be thrown out of the Turkish Cypriot league.

“We have also been told the if we apply to the Greek Cypriot CFA, we will be in breach of the TRNC’s constitution, which will also result in us being thrown out of the Turkish Cypriot league,” Oner said.

Asked whether the CFA would accept applications from Turkish Cypriot teams, CFA President Costakis Koutsokoumnis said he preferred not to react until a formal application had been made.

“We have heard so many times before [that Turkish Cypriot clubs wish to join]. Let them come and discuss this, and we can take it from there,” he told the Mail yesterday.

Another source at CFA told the Mail the Association looked favourably on applications but that none had so far been made “in seriousness”.

“What they have to remember is that if they join they have to follow our rules,” he said.

Source: Cyprus Mail

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