The mayor of the Bratislava district of Nové Mesto, Rudolf Kusý, has cancelled the planned indoor football tournament called the Fortuna Víkend Šampiónov (Weekend of Champions) that was scheduled for Sunday January 8 based on a request by the police, the SITA newswire reported.
"We are very disappointed about the decision by the mayor and the police. This tournament could have been a great opportunity for Slovak football and for Bratislava to organise a high-quality international event," said Arndt Jaworski, head of the organising group, UFA Sports Slovakia, at a press conference on January 5.
SITA reported that Jaworski said that his group received the news on the cancellation from the media and initiated further negotiations but the district government rejected their proposals. First-league football clubs from Slovakia and the Czech Republic such as Slovnaft Bratislava, MŠK Žilina, Spartak Trnava, Sparta Praha, Slavia Praha and Bohemians 1905 were scheduled to participate at the indoor football tournament scheduled for the Ondrej Nepela Ice Hockey Stadium in Bratislava.
"Based on my personal experience with organising the ice-hockey championship matches, I'm convinced that the football tournament's organisers either underestimated or ignored the comments they were given in order to provide a smooth course of the event," stated mayor Kusý.
In their request [to cancel the event] the police stressed serious safety risks. Bratislava regional Police Chief Csaba Farago said that the organisers did not provide sufficient numbers of organising and security staff while UFA Sports Slovakia's Boris Šimonič stated that the problem was with the stadium, which did not fulfil safety standards.
The police also stated that about 1,200 Spartak Trnava fans and a similar number of Slovan Bratislava fans were expected and that both groups are known for hooliganism and that a conflict between the groups could not be ruled out.
Jaworski said the tournament had been held in Prague five times with less security staff and more fans participating, adding that the organisers did their best to cooperate with the police and fulfil their requests.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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