15.05.2020 18:13 h

Cyprus calls an end to football season

The Cyprus Football Association (CFA) on Friday officially ended the 2019-2020 season after saying it could not meet government coronavirus guidelines for clubs to return to playing behind closed doors.

In a statement issued on Friday, the CFA said the current protocols would not allow for teams to properly prepare for games, which could lead to players being seriously injured.

"Our main concern from the outset was the health of all those involved, from footballers, technical staff of teams, and other employees at stadiums," said the CFA statement.

The championship was suspended on 15 March after Cyprus' first COVID-19 cases were reported.

The first division was at the play-off stage with another nine rounds of fixtures to go. Omonia Nicosia and Anorthosis Famagusta were tied at the top with 46 points each, champions APOEL were six points behind.

The CFA said ending the season would allow clubs, which have seen their balance sheets crumble, some breathing space to maintain their squads at a time when they have no income.

Despite calling off the season the CFA allocated spots for European competition to Omonia Nicosia (qualifying rounds of the UEFA Champions League), Anorthosis Famagusta, APOEL and Apollon Limassol (qualifying rounds of Europa League).

The CFA also decided to increase top-flight teams to 14, up from the current 12, to accommodate two promoted sides.

It is still unclear whether the CFA will award the league title to anybody or how that will be decided.