By Staff Reporter
FOOTBALL Association (CFA) chairman Costakis Koutsokoumnis has his fair share of detractors, but he may have found a rare sympathiser in Loukas Fanieros.
Fanieros, who runs Ermis football club, currently in the top division, has come to Koutsokoumnis’ defence.
Speaking to the Sigmalive news outlet, Fanieros suggested that the CFA boss, whatever his shortcomings, is unfairly being cast as the villain of Cypriot football.
“I think we have got the wrong end of the stick. A lot is happening against the CFA chairman and he cannot fulfil his duties as he would have liked.
“He and his family are threatened, five bombs were planted against him, and no one breaks a sweat,” Fanieros said.
“He is under tremendous pressure. A bomb is planted against him, but the next day it’s as if nothing happened. Instead of protecting him and catching the perpetrators, the police are concentrating on computers, red files and discovering the wheel.
“They are allowing him to be the object of prey and pushing him to resign,” the Ermis chairman added.
“The CFA chairman has my support, but he needs to change tactics. Mr. Koutsokoumnis is trying through all of this to satisfy everyone. I think he cannot operate as he’d like to. They have turned him into the worst person in Cyprus. Koutsokoumnis is blamed for everything. If the Cyprus problem isn’t solved, they’ll blame that on him too,” Fanieros remarked.
The Ermis club chairman is the son of convicted felon and suspected gambling kingpin Antonis Fanieros. The elder Fanieros was the target of a gangland hit in 1997 when he took a bullet to the neck in a drive-by shooting. Loukas Fanieros himself was also the target of a hit in 1998 but escaped injury.
Koutsokoumnis has lately been in the spotlight after allegations of match-fixing brought by referee-turned-whistleblower Marios Panayi.
In a press conference late last year, Panayi named CFA deputy chief Yiorgos Koumas as the man behind the extensive match-fixing. On Koutsokoumnis, Panayi said that he was a “strawman who does as he is told.”
The referee’s allegations have since led to a police investigation.
Ermis was one of a number of Cypriot clubs cited by Belgian-based match fixing watchdog Federbet, in its annual report on Europe issued last June.
Cyprus had seven games flagged, based on irregular betting patterns. One of the matches was the Ermis Aradippou versus Kouklia FC on September 30, 2013 (Ermis won 5-2).