Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou expressed hope on Wednesday that a bill aimed at combating match fixing would be approved by parliament before its summer recess so it can come into effect by the start of the new season
The bill includes provisions for investigating such offences and others designed to work preemptively.
The minister said a five-member committee will be created to investigate and collect information that will be passed on to the attorney-general who will decide whether there was a case. The investigation will be carried out by the police.
Cypriot football is plagued by match-fixing, described as the worst in Europe. Footballing authorities have received scores of notifications about suspicious betting, which suggests match-fixing, but no one has been brought to book to date, apart from several €50,000-fines imposed on teams.
The bill affords courts the authority to seize any profits collected by the offender and creates a bribery offence concerning officials and athletes.
Those found guilty face up to seven years in jail and or a €200,000 fine.
It will ban betting by athletes, club officials, referees, and members of the football association. Club officials would be banned from representing athletes.
The bill also includes provisions for protecting athletes who blow the whistle and banning termination of their contract.
Nicolaou said the bill did not include a conspiracy offence because that was already covered by the criminal code.
Akel MP Giorgos Georgiou suggested the government had delayed submitting the bill, adding that the “stench” of fixed matches was threatening to choke the entire footballing structure.
“We have been inundated by Uefa notifications in recent years … but there was no response or effective tackling of this sick phenomenon,” he said.
Georgiou said the bill was full of gaps and vague points but his party was prepared to be constructive in bid to stamp out the “gangrene”.