Cyprus FA President to hold meeting to reunite divided island

Friday, 14 December 2012
By Andrew Warshaw

Costakis KoutsokoumnisDecember 14 - A hugely symbolic development in relations between the football authorities on both sides of the political divide in Cyprus will take place in the New Year when the President of the Cyprus Football Association (CFA), Costakis Koutsokoumnis, holds a formal meeting with representatives on the Turkish-controlled north of the island.

This follows preliminary unification talks this week on the Greek side in Nicosia between Koutsokoumnis(pictured top) and his northern Cypriot counterpart Hasan Sertoglu.

Koutsokoumnis underlined that talks should not be prolonged but stated there was common ground in the desire to unify football on the island.

"We need to move quickly, we think the ground is right to find a solution for the unification of football on the island and I am certain that both sides are determined to solve this problem that exists since 1955," he said.

The two sides will meet again on January 17 at the offices of the Turkish Cypriot Association, not recognised by football's governing bodies but keen to put aside its differences in order to return to the international fold.

"This island has suffered thanks to politicians and our focus is only on football, not on politics," Sertoglou said.

"I believe that with good will we can find a resolution to this problem."

Asked when he believed there would be any concrete decisions, Koutsokoumnis expressed the hope that an initial plan would be in place within two months but would not elaborate.

"Everyone expects a solution from us," he said.

"I have a strong belief that we will not disappoint anyone."

Greek and Turkish Cypriot clubs played together in an all-Island league until 1955 when they went their separate ways.

The island has been divided since the 1974 Turkish-led invasion and although United Nations efforts to reunite the country are still ongoing, they have so far failed to yield results.

Contact the writer of this story at andrew.warshaw@insidethegames.biz
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