Monday 18 December 2017

Northern Ireland monitoring situation after ref's car is bombed in Cyprus

Michael O'Neill's Northern Ireland side will take on Cyprus next week
Michael O'Neill's Northern Ireland side will take on Cyprus next week

Rory Dollard

The Irish Football Association are "monitoring developments" in Cyprus after a referee's car was bombed in the country, where Northern Ireland are due to play a friendly on Wednesday.

The IFA have substantiated reports that the car of a top Cypriot official - named by the Cyprus Football Association as Leontios Trattos - was damaged by a bomb explosion on Friday morning, leading to all First Division fixtures being cancelled in the country this weekend.

Northern Ireland are due to face Cyprus in Nicosia on Wednesday night, with a friendly between Ukraine and the United States also scheduled for Larnaca due to political unrest in the former.

IFA chief executive Patrick Nelson confirmed to Press Association Sport that he had been in contact with Marios Leskaritis, the CFA president, and that the bombing is currently viewed as an isolated incident unconnected to international football.

There are no plans to cancel the fixture at present, but discussions between the associations will continue as facts are established.

Nelson told Press Association Sport: "I have been in touch with the president of the Cyprus FA and we will continue to monitor developments."

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill named a 22-man squad for the match on Wednesday, with the likes of Southampton's Steven Davis and West Brom duo Gareth McAuley and Chris Brunt included.

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