By George Psyllides
POLICE officers last night searched the offices of the Cyprus Football Association (CFA) in connection with claims made by a referee regarding widespread match fixing in the country’s top league.
The search was decided during a meeting headed by the attorney-general earlier in the day.
Referee Marios Panayi has given lengthy statements to police, as well as recordings, and other evidence documenting extensive corruption in the football authorities.
From the little information that leaked, it appears Panayi has named officials and politicians as being involved.
CFA chairman Costakis Koutsokoumnis welcomed the investigation.
“They can take anything they want. It is an opportunity to get everything out in the open,” he said after an informal general meeting yesterday evening.
The meeting decided it was premature to appoint its own investigating officers since the police prove was still at an early stage.
Koutsokoumnis said it took guts to do what Panayi did and called on anyone with evidence to step forward.
“It would be good to investigate the evidence and I urge you to do the same if you have any,” he told reporters.
However, the CFA chairman claimed there was an “air of exaggeration” as he urged everyone to lower the tones.
Koutsokoumnis said bad refereeing did not mean a game was fixed and just because a ref appointment was disapproved by a team it did not mean there was an ulterior motive.
“Football must emerge stronger from this. If there is any form of ring it must be dismantled,” he said.
Regarding him calling referees before games, Koutsokoumnis said he was involved with football for the past 20 years and he had never called a ref for anything else but to encourage them.
When asked if any other chairman did that in other countries, Koutsokoumnis said no bombs were placed in those countries and the refs were not under such pressure that would affect their performance.