The game, which was organised for UEFA members during a recent summit in the Turkish city of Istanbul, was photographed and Koutsokoumnis was seen posing for a team photo and playing football in the red jersey.
The pictures sparked immediate criticism from some people and groups back in Cyprus with many accusing Koutsokoumnis – who had also served as chairman of APOEL in the past – of ‘betraying his country’ and ‘selling his soul’. On Monday, the backlash continued with political parties and football supporters groups calling on him to step down.
He was also criticised for participating in the event which had described Cyprus as ‘The Greek Cypriot administration of South Cyprus.”
Koutsokoumnis, in turn, moved to defend his actions by saying that he “put football above politics” adding that he was in the process of ‘filing a complaint’ over the way Cyprus was named at the event.
Some of the most scathing of criticism was leveled by former APOEL chairman and senior-ranking member of ruling party Disy.
“I have the right as a former chairman of APOEL and a member of the CFA, to describe the actions of Mr. Koutsokoumnis as shameful above anything else.”
“It is apparent that he does not care that Turkey illegally occupies 40% of land belonging to the Cyprus Republic and he is also not interested in the thousands who are refugees, who are missing or who are killed.”
The incident has also prompted a response from the government who later issued a statement calling on Koutsokoumnis “to show some sensitivity towards Greek Cypriots”.
“Despite the fact that this matter is not a political one for the government but rather the actions of somebody representing an independent sports...