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Cyprus FA chief urges Turkish Cypriots to ink deal

Cyprus FA chief urges Turkish Cypriots to ink deal

The Cyprus Turkish Football Association, the governing body of the sport in the northern part of the divided island, could end its decades-old exclusion from the international game in a deal brokered by FIFA and UEFA if it agrees to put itself under the direction of the Cyprus Football Association.
Only the Greek Cypriot-run CFA is recognized by FIFA and UEFA. The breakaway Turkish Cypriot state is recognized only by Turkey, and FIFA rules don't allow for two associations to operate in one country.
"We offer them (Turkish Cypriots) a way out of this dead end," CFA president Costas Koutsokoumnis said Thursday. "There is no way out for Turkish Cypriot football except if they sign this agreement."
The two sides are expected to meet in Zurich, Switzerland, on Feb. 2 to agree on the deal, which would force the CTFA to apply for CFA membership, but would allow the body to hold international friendlies and run its own championship.
CTFA officials have resisted the deal because they feel it would render them subordinate to Greek Cypriot authority and set a bad example in ongoing talks to reunify the divided island.
Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat said Wednesday that there "was no way possible" for the deal to be accepted because it would dilute Turkish Cypriot control over their own institutions.
Cyprus was split along ethnic lines in 1974 when Turkey invaded in response to a coup by Athens-backed supporters of uniting the island with Greece. A breakaway Turkish Cypriot state was set up almost a decade later.
Talat and Greek Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias restarted moribund peace talks last September, but have yet to make any real progress.
Koutsokoumnis said the football deal would be a temporary arrangement until a formal reunification agreement is reached.
The CTFA would also hold a seat on the CFA board and have a say on the arbitration panel. It would also be allowed to keep its own player registry, but the CFA would retain formal control of a central registry of all players.
"I call on the Turkish Cypriots, if they're thinking about the future of their children and seek the hope that football can provide, to come to Zurich on Feb. 2 without passion or fear to initial (the deal)," Koutsokoumnis said.


Updated : 2021-05-09 00:01 GMT+08:00