Losing their marbles: Apoel ask Spurs fans to return the Elgin statues

September 28 – There are all kinds of football chants directed at away supporters – but fans of Apoel Nicosia this week opted to denounce their British colonial past when Tottenham Hotspur came to town in the Champions League.

Home fans unfurled two banners which when read: ‘History cannot be beaten…bring the marbles back!’, referring to the controversial Elgin Marbles that sit in the British Museum in London.

The Elgin marbles, a priceless collection of classical statutes, were originally from the 5,000-year-old Parthenon and are still the fruit of controversy since many Greeks and Cypriots believe they were brought back to the UK illegally by Thomas Bruce.

Bruce, the seventh earl of Elgin, was at the time ambassador to Constantinople for the Ottoman Empire.

The British Museum considers the relics as belonging to the ancient Athenian civilisation, and not to the present Greek state. But some Greeks and Cypriots see this exploitation of their natural heritage.

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