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Cyprus

No match-fixing arrests for now

For the time being, there is no cause for arrests in an ongoing investigation into alleged match-fixing in football, the police said on Tuesday.

The evidence obtained from the headquarters of the football association (CFA) is currently being evaluated, police spokesman Andreas Angelides told reporters asking about the probe.

Late on Monday evening, police searched the CFA offices in Nicosia, seizing 20 desktop computers, six laptops and a large number of documents.

Authorities have launched a probe into the CFA’s affairs after allegations by referee Marios Panayi of widespread match-fixing in the top league

Panayi caused an uproar within the football community when last week he gave a press conference claiming that he had recordings, documents and other evidence proving that members of the CFA were fixing matches, in particular those deciding which team would be relegated to the second division.

The whistleblower subsequently gave police a lengthy statement.

According to reports, much of the information Panayi has supplied comprises audio recordings and emails. Because a great deal of this information was illegally obtained, it cannot be used in court, which is partly why police need to corroborate Panayi’s allegations by getting hold of the CFA’s documents.

Panayi is said to have named a number of officials as well as politicians as being involved. Citing its sources, Politis reports that the referee has named former Paphos mayor Savvas Vergas – in hot water with the law over other cases – as having on one occasion tried to fix a match involving Pafiakos, a Paphos club.

Panayi had previously called on the leaders of the three main parliamentary parties – DISY, AKEL and DIKO – to publicly declare whether they or their representatives had secret meetings with CFA members. All parties have rejected the accusations, demanding that the case be thoroughly investigated.

CFA boss Kostas Koutsokoumnis, one of Panayi’s targets, has denied any wrongdoing.

MP Demetris Syllouris, chairman of the House ethics committee, on Tuesday called on the CFA leadership to resign, saying they should have already done so.

Syllouris also urged authorities to move fast in the investigation, in order to prevent a cover-up and destruction of evidence.

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