3 Mar 2014

Football Ferns to play on despite car bomb

3:20 pm on 3 March 2014

The Football Ferns will participate in this week's Cyprus Cup despite a bomb damaging the car of a Cypriot referee on Friday.

Football New Zealand says the match official is not connected with the tournament.

The Associated Press reports the remote controlled bomb was placed on the bonnet of the car belonging to Leontios Trattos, a first division referee who has controlled World Cup qualifiers.

It's not known why Trattos was targeted, but he was most recently in charge of a local derby in which eight yellow cards were handed out.

No one was injured in the attack, but all football games in Cyprus were canceled over the weekend as the country's Referees' Association, of which Trattos is the President, went on strike.

In a statement the Association said previous appeals for authorities to protect their members from "cowardly masked bandits" have gone unheeded.

Both the Cypriot Football Association and the country's top sports body condemned the bombing as a "terrorist attack."

Cyprus also plays host to a friendly between the United States and Ukraine tomorrow which was moved to the island due to unrest in the former soviet republic.

The Football Ferns play Ireland on Thursday in their opening match of the 12 team tournament.