Cyprus Mail

CFA will address match-fixing allegations on Friday

By Constantinos Psillides
The Cyprus Football Association (CFA) said on Monday it would address the recent allegations of match-fixing at the end of this week.
The organisation said CFA chairman Kostakis Koutsokoumnis would give a news conference on Friday, the first since referee Marios Panayi, 34, blew the whistle on match-fixing in the island’s top league.
The CFA said it would address the negative developments. It did not say whether the organisation’s deputy chairman, Giorgos Koumas would be with Koutsokoumnis. Koumas was the person named by Panayi as the man behind the scenes when it came to match-fixing, saying: “If the umbilical cord connecting Koumas to refereeing isn’t cut then we are lost.”
The CFA has already said it would appoint an independent official to look into Panayi’s allegations, a response the international referee dismissed as “laughable”.
Panayi caused an uproar when claimed he 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 supplied comprises audio recordings and emails. Because a great deal of it was illegally obtained, it cannot be used in court, which is partly why police need to corroborate the allegations by getting hold of CFA documents. Panayi is said to have named a number of officials as well as politicians.
Only one person has so far been arrested in connection with the case. Panayiotis Panayiotou, 40, turned himself in on December 24 after police issued an arrest warrant for allegedly threatening ARIS Limassol football club former boss Kyriakos Hadjikyriakou.
Hadjikyriakou had told investigators he was threatened not to get involved with the case. Panayiotou was questioned and released.
Belgium-based match-fixing watchdog Federbet was also looking for Panayi, to interview him regarding his allegations. Panayi told the Cyprus Mail he was in touch with the watchdog and was planning to report his experiences with match-fixing.
Panayi was also asked whether he still planned made the evidence public, in case the legal services could not bring the case to court. “Of course I still plan to do that. People should be informed on what is going on. That’s the least we owe them. They should know so they won’t set foot in another football match again,” responded Panayi, adding that he remained unafraid of the people running the show.
“I’m willing to pay any cost,” he said. “These things should be out in the open… the evidence I have speaks for itself.”

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