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César Alberto Castro Perez, a Venezuelan professional footballer, was assaulted last Friday and threatened with a gun to both make him terminate his contract with the Cypriot club Olympiakos Nicosia and give up his claim for unpaid salary.

 

Castro had been, for quite some time, at odds with the Olympiakos Nicosia club management. His stay at the club, which at present occupies the eleventh position in the highest Cypriot division, had become disappointing. He hardly ever played. The club was not satisfied with him, Spyros Neofytidis, president of PSAP, the Cypriot trade union for professional footballers, confirmed.

 

Moreover Castro hadn’t received his salary from Olympiakos Nicosia for three months. ‘Last Tuesday my lawyer sent a letter claiming salary arrears’, Castro says to the Greek daily Goal. ‘My lawyer told me on Thursday that the club had still not reacted. We then drew up a letter, which we would send to the FIFA DRC. On Friday I signed this letter at my lawyer’s office. ’  

 

According to the FIFA Regulations Castro was entitled to unilaterally terminate his contract, as of last Friday, because Olympiakos Nicosia had by then failed to pay his salary for more than three consecutive months. Castro intended to fly to Venezuela on Sunday, he had already booked his flight.

 

’On Friday evening 21.45 somebody knocked on my door’, Castro continued his story. He opened the door and saw two men in front of him. ’I didn’t know these men, one had pulled up his hood. I was hit hard in my neck.’

 

’They ordered me to renounce the money owed to me. When I refused, they slapped me in my face, as a result of which I fell on the ground. One of the men threatened me to hurt me even more and put a gun to my face. He threatened to kill me.’

 

’I signed two papers which bore the Olympiakos Nicosia logo. The document required two signatures, my own signature and the president’s one.’ The papers were meant to terminate Castro’s contract with the club and to make the player renounce the salary still due.

 

PSAP president Spyros Neofytidis confirms Castro’s story. ’He rang me at 23.00’, thus Neofitides. ’He was terrified. I saw a half broken tooth and a wound in his neck.’ In a Nicosia hospital bruises were identified on his neck, thus Goal.  

 

Neofytidis accompanied Castro to the police station, where the 28-year-old defender reported the crime to the police. The police has started an investigation.

 

On Saturday, one day earlier than planned, Castro took the aircraft to leave Cyprus.

 

Castro was playing his first season at Olympiakos Nicosia. In the past he played in Greece for among others Panserraikos, Giannina and Atromitos. He also stayed some years in Spain and in Mexico.