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Crime Cyprus

CFA sees sinister motives behind Guardian report

Marios Panayi, former ref who made a series of allegations about match-fixing

A report in the British daily The Guardian highlighting the sorry state of affairs of the island’s football scene, has irked the Cyprus Football Association (CFA), which suggested ulterior motives could be at play.

The article, “Car bombs, corruption and illegal betting – how football in Cyprus spiralled out of control” reported on the attacks against referees and claims that match fixing was widespread, voiced by a former official.

In a written statement on Wednesday, the CFA said nice-sounding headlines draw interest and increase (website) traffic. “That is why the Guardian uses them in yesterday’s article, with a clear intention to harm Cypriot football.”

The CFA said the paper referred to events that took place over two years ago – bombs targeting the property of referees and claims made by referee Marios Panayi regarding fixed matches, which had never been substantiated.

“In general, it is serving reheated, tasteless food with the aim of creating impressions,” the CFA said.

It did not deny the existence of problems, outlining recent measures in relation with suspicious betting activity.

As a matter of policy, the CFA said, it did not deal with such publications so that it would not afford them more value than what they really had.

“But the timing of the article, its contents, and the manner the events were presented, raises reasonable doubt of the writer’s intentions, and it cannot be ruled out that they are related with developments in European football.”

Citing an unnamed source close to the CFA, daily Kathimerini suggested that the reference to developments meant the September 14 elections for the successor of football legend Michel Platini, who resigned as UEFA president in the wake of a corruption scandal.

Kathimerini said the CFA supported Slovenian Alexander Severin, the favourite, while the English FA backed Dutchman Michael van Praagh.

The source claimed that the Guardian was trying to create the impression that Severin was supported by corrupt individuals, Kathimerini said.

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Source: Cyprus News Agency

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