A second Greek Cypriot player has been signed up with Turkish Cypriot football club Degirmenlik. Last month’s signing of Dimtris Vassiliou caused an uproar, ‘Cyprus Mail’ reports.
Vassiliou (above left) who came in for a great deal of flak for his decision to be the first Greek Cypriot to play for a Turkish Cypriot team since 1955 also received death threats. The reaction even prompted the 35-year-old’s father to step forward and publicly defend his son’s decision to sign for Degirmenlik. Since signing up for the team Vassiliou, a father of two, lost his job coaching his local side, Omonoia Aradippou’s Under-15s and said he has also been threatened with the possibility of a transfer to a warehouse position by his superiors at the semi-state owned Electricity Authority.
Argiris Christofi, the second Greek Cypriot player to be signed by a Turkish Cypriot football team, was not deterred by the backlash.
“This is my life and I do what I want with it,” said Christofi, according to a report by Turkish Cypriot daily ‘Yeni Duzen’, adding that he didn’t think that playing for a Turkish Cypriot team would cause him any problem.
“I believe that football has the power to bring peace to the world,” added Christofi.
Christofi joined the team’s training on Thursday, along with Vassiliou, who is expected to make his debut on Saturday.
The Cyprus Turkish Football Association (CFTA) and the Cyprus Football Association (CFA) signed an agreement in 2013, paving the way for the reunification of football on the island. Almost a year on, both sides appear to be waiting for each other to ratify the agreement.