The widespread magazine for football fans in Poland, To My Kibice, hosts an interview for our group Ultras Famagusta, on June’s edition of the magazine and specifically at TO MY KIBICE PLUS NR 2 (52) LATO 2016.
Our group’s name is ‘Ultras Famagusta’ and we were established in 2008. Our members are carefully selected through their action, devotion and dedication to the club and also to the terrace.
All of our Ultras are under the name “MAXHTEC” which means fighters in Greek. Our group is the main group of our Ultras responsible for the organisation and impelemtation of our actions. Our fan base is spreaded around Cyprus due to the Turkish occupation since ’74. Our groups in each city are: Polemidia Club (Limassol), XF Club (Larnaca), Famagusta Ghetto (Non-occupired area of Famagusta), Nicosia Radicals (Nicosia) and mPAFOS (Paphos). In addition, we have groups in Athens, Thessaloniki and the United Kingdom. Finally, Blue Hools constitutes a small nationalist group with members around the island.
We don’t have any relations with other Cypriot groups – as each club has its own background and its own rivarly. Nothing really can join us, except the hatred against the state and the police. Our group “Ultras Famagusta” intiated friendly relations with “Blue Union” of OFK BEOGRAD from 2008. The same founding dates of our football teams (1911) and ultras-groups (1994) same colours and same religion were the most important reasons for this action. The official brotherhood was agreed in 2014 after several meetings of both fans in Serbia and Cyprus. Blue Union’s brotherhood with Dynamo Moscow Fans and Dynamo’s matches in Cyprus intitated later the brotherhood with Dynamo Moscow creating the Blue and White Brotherhood between the three of us.
Throughout the years our main rivalry has always been with the two teams of Nicosia, Omonia and Apoel. The main reason has been their control and manipulation of the media, referees, football organisation and the government. Furthermore, a hatred has developed against Omonoia due to their insults towards our nation and history by constantly bringing Turkish banners to the stadium and vevilwnoungreek flags, heroes and battles.
We are children of ancestors which became refugees due to the Turkish Invasion. Our vision is to return to our city, the land of our ancestors under our . As Ultras we honour all our historical events and heroes which fought for the precention of foreign rule and died to preserve Greek blood in the island.
Larnaca and Famagusta are the most popular areas of Anorthosis Fans. Within these areas Anorthosis has signidicantly the majority of supporters. In Larnaca Aek and NeaSalamina has a certain amount of fans although they are insignificant compared to ours.
One of the most significant fights was at the game Ermis-Anorthosis in 2011 where we celebrated the 100 years of Anorthosis. Few minutes before the end of the game was suspended after the referree decisions’ angered all our fans. The significance of these riots where their magnitude and the participations of all our fans at the stadium. The aftermath of the riots where the injury of 17 police officers and the total destruction of 9 pollice vehicles and 1 fire-engine. Other imporant fights during the last years where mainly with Apollon Fans. At the end of women’s volleyball Final in Kition (Larnaca) there was an even fights with hands and belts bringing their retreat and injure of most of their forntline. In a friendly match at our stadium Apollon Fans seeked revenge for this insidence by attacking our fans with molotovcockteils. The immediate evacuation of our fans from the stadium and their assault brought their retreat and the burning of one of their one fans, signalising one of the most brutal riots in Cypriot history. The initative form the current Ministry of Defence to install Fan Cards for all supporters in the island has calm downed the hooligan scene in Cyprus over the last years in order to gain the support of normal supporters to oppose this legislation.
This situation was a joint agreement by all fans to not attend home and away games to protest against the fan card that was being introduced by the government. As ultra’ groups in Cyprus noticed that the fan card would be not applicable in Cypriot standards they returned to support their teams. Prior to the boycott of matches by Ultras, there was a joint protest outside parliament with 25 members from each group from Cyprus – giving hope for the mentality that we truly wish to see in the island. The only team that tried to apply the card was Apoel Nicosia – forcing away fans not to attend fixtures against them due to the fact that fans were being forced to give in personal information for “security” reasons.
The best matches are the games that “MAXHTEC” attended in big numbers! Unfortunately, during the last years we didn’t get the chance to pass through the group stage in order to travel more. One of the best matches was our away game with Inter in the Champions League Group with 3000 supporters, an organized choreo, large banners and loud vocal support. Matches with Olympiakos and Rapid(home and away) in the qualifying rounds of the Champions League were games with strong support, and passion towards the team. The dynamic presence of 4000 of our fans in the away game with Totehnam for the qualifying round of Europa League and their constant support to the team despite loosing 6-1 brought the admiration of the British fans. Finally, all home games at the Champions League Group highlighted the organisation of our Ultras with impressive entrances in all matches. Banners symbolizing the sacred symbols of Anorthosis History where presented as a filmography against Panathinaikos while our occupied town was displayed using banners and plakats against Verder in a choreo where 15000 people participated.
The best away game our group attended is the Olympiakos away were 1500 fans visited Athens. During the day a large corteo was organized in the heart of Athens with all our fans creating an amazing atmosphere from early in the morning. Even though we were outnumbered, we stood our ground against Olympiakos fans, who attacked our fans, who were trapped inside the train towards the stadium. Throughout the game, the whole terrace supported the team in a difficult stadium and at the end we all celebrated the victory of entering the Champions League Group stage.
This was one of our best away trip in terms of organization, support and madness. Riots before the game, 90-minute chanting and a spectacular finish with our club passing through the group stage. Lots of celebrations around Athens and in Cyprus for this. People in Cyprus get to know Greek football as well as Greek-Cypriot football by young age, which gives the opportunity for some people to support just Greek teams. But we regard this as something bad for our football culture as the people are not supporting teams for their history and idea, but for their success and achievements. At the first game in Cyprus many rival fans were in theOlympiakos terrace, constituting the reason for our fans to attack them about 1 hour before the kick off. People in Cyprus generally tend to support both their Cypriot and Greek teams, although this phenomenon has decreased since Cypriot teams have played against Greek teams and some rivalry has emerged.
We lost the opportunity to pass through the group stages in the Europa League, by losing by a very weak team. Many were saying it was fixed by our board – others by our players creating chaos inside and outside the stadium. The match was permanently suspended after one of our fans entered the pitch to confront our goalkeeper for his poor performance. A large force of policemen entered the stadium and arrested him making a large number of our group to enter the pitch for retaliation. Many policemen were injured; stadium property and many stores around the stadium got damaged. 7 members from MAXHTEC were sentenced from 4 to 12 months and were also asked to pay fines in jail after being recognized through the CCTV. Our group organized lots of parties, made materials and manifestos, in order to gather money to help the members that were affected. The consequences from UEFA for our club were a sentence of three home matches without fans and large fines.
The use of pyrotechnics in Cyprus is forbidden and is prosecuted very heavily. The club boards usually are against the use of pyrotechnics, but they know as we are inside the stadium, there is no choice! The penalty for lighting a flare or smoke inside AND outside the stadium is a fine of 500-1000 euros and long-term ban from 6 months to 2 years. The penalty for distributing pyro on the terrace is even more severe!
We have always been independent from the club board, as we believe on most times that they are not there for their passion for the team, but for the money. As “MAXHTEC’ we have protested successfully against specific board members and managed to gain their dismissal from Anorthosis. We probably have the worst relationships historically with club boards in Cyprus as many times our own board prosecuted ultras and cooperated with the police for the arrest. The latest occasion was two years ago where a small number of our fans squatted the club’s premises and the board reacted by utilizing a massive amount of police enforcement to arrest them – with 17 arrests.
Our political views can be determined through our club’s history, which is linked with the element that our island possessed and identifies itself as Greek. Our club and its members throughout its history fought and died for the country. This for us can be considered as something alternative – which cannot be considered as politics but a way of life that our club’s ancestors taught. We consider politics and political parties as corrupted and shit. In many occasions we have asked politicians to leave our stadium, we surrendered our voting books and created banners against parties, which have voted laws affecting Ultras and our club.
The ultra’ scene in Cyprus has gotten bigger and bigger since 2008. Choreographies and pyrotechnics are a weekly task for ultras in Cyprus, which gives more challenges for all of us! We treat every single one of them as the same enemy while at all times thinking the best for the Ultras Movement as a whole in Cyprus.
The Polish Supporters’ scene is very unique from other scenes in Europe. The passion, color on the terrace, use of pyro and large amount of groups are important characteristics. The organized hand fights without weapons is a justification that everyone can follow the same example and show his superiority and territory in a humane way. Finally though , we believe that the Ultras movement should have no restrictions so we believe that group rules in Poland against alcohol, for instance, are extreme and restrictive.