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Turkish and Greek Cyprus football federations unite

Representatives from both the Cyprus Turkish and Cyprus (Greek) Football Federations have signed a groundbreaking agreement under the supervision of FIFA president Sepp Blatter and UEFA president Michael Platini in Zurich today. The Cyprus Turkish Football Federation has now become a member of the Cyprus (Greek) Football Federation after the presidents of both federations, Hasan Sertoglu and Kostakis Kutsokumnis agreed on terms. The Cyprus (Greek) Football Federation will continue to be a member of FIFA and UEFA, thus allowing Turkish Cypriot footballers to partake in international events. This ends 40 years of isolation of Turkish Cypriot footballers who have been subject to an international embargo since 1974. “Both the Cyprus Football Association and the Cyprus Turkish Football Association are today providing the whole world with an excellent example of how football can build bridges and bring people together after a long period of conflict. I would like to thank both associations and UEFA for their outstanding contribution to this milestone arrangement,” said FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter.

Turkish Cypriots footballers in the past, like Mustafa Izzet and Colin Kazim Richards have been given the opportunity to play for Turkey. Those who hold other passports have also represented other countries in sporting events, like Fatima Whitbread, who won a gold medal for Great Britain in the 1984 Olympics. Turkish Cypriots who hold E.U. passports obtained from the Greek Cypriot government in the south of the island are legally allowed to represent Southern Cyprus, but most prefer not to choose that option for a number of reasons. While Turkish Cypriot Meliz Redif was able to represent Turkey in the 2012 Olympics, those who applied to participate under the Olympic flag had their pleas rejected.

In 2007 English football team Luton Town arranged to play a friendly match in the TRNC against local team Cetinkaya, but was forced to cancel the match after pressure from the Greek Cypriot government. Up until today, the only international action Turkish Cypriot football teams have had is the occasional friendly match, usually against amateur non-league teams abroad. The TRNC national team has also participated in the FIFI Wild Cup, the VIVA World Cup and the ELF Cup along with other unrecognized countries from around the world such as Greenland, Tibet, Gibraltar, Iraqi Kurdistan and Crimea.

Under the agreement, the Cyprus Turkish Football Federation will conform to Cyprus (Greek) Football Federation rules and regulations in return for equal representation in the federation's board.

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