Cyprus friendly match turns into a political crisis as both parties fail to agree on basic arrangements

What was meant to be a friendly soccer match has now turned into a political crisis due to the selection of pitch and restrictions for the use of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) flag.

The match was to be between the Famagusta Turkish Force and Nea Salamina.

Upon the new developments, president of the Turkish side, Mustafa Akinci, decided not to participate in the match to which Didier Drogba, an internationally renowned Ivory Coast footballer, was also expected to attend, according to a report by NTV.

The other issue was the change in the venue of the match.

The match’s venue, organized by Peace and Sports Forum, an organization sponsored by Greek Stelios Foundation, changed from Pile village in the Green Line, a United Nations-controlled Buffer Zone, to a pitch in the Greek Cypriots’ territory.

Although having confirmed earlier, TRNC President canceled his participation as it turned out he can’t pass to the Greek side with the TRNC’s presidential coat of arms on his vehicle.

Akinci’s request for changing the venue somewhere in the UN-controlled Green Line is reported to have been rejected by the organizing committee and playing teams.

According to the TRNC presidential spokesman, Akinci won’t go to the match unless it’s played in a venue in the Buffer Zone.

Both leaders, Mustafa Akinci of TRNC and Nikos Anastasiadis of Greek Cyprus confirmed their participation in the friendly match, to which Drogba was invited as the guest of honor.

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