PASP Respect 2500

Footballers in Cyprus urge authorities to prioritize health and conditions

18 September 2020
Cypriot player union PASP received reports of five players collapsing on the pitch in Cyprus due to a heat stroke, and complaints about violations of mandatory Covid-19 measures.

Male second division players and first division female players launched a campaign #RespectFootballers and last weekend decided not to play during the first minute of the match (see videos below).

“Already for years, the first games of each season are played in inappropriate conditions,” Antonis Panagi, a footballer for Omonia Aradippou told a news conference attended by seventeen second division players.

All second-division matches on Saturday are scheduled at 16.30, one of the hottest times of the day. According to the Labour Ministry’s weather code, last weekend’s matches took place in “extreme” temperatures, when labour law prohibits working activities in the sun between 13.00 and 17.00 hours.

“The football association says that the matches cannot be scheduled at a later time because the clubs don’t have adequate light installations,” said Spyros Neofytides, President of PASP. “There were drinking breaks, but the players had to stay on the pitch in the sun - they should be in the shade.”

Second-division players have been playing matches without taking a Covid-19 test, even though the health protocol established by the government and the football association states that this is mandatory in all football divisions.

Both male and female players are asking the government and football authorities to collaborate to improve stadium facilities. In women’s football, players reported that they had to change outdoors. In men’s football, players say the changing rooms they use are substandard.

Top photo taken during press conference with players from the second division in attendance. Behind the table from l;eft to right PASP’s Loizos Chrysostomou and Spyros Neofytides, and player Antonis Panagi.