The Cyprus Football Association (CFA) will have to adopt tough measures to combat match-fixing by punishing clubs, or the European confederation will do it instead, Uefa vice-president Marios Lefkaritis said on Wednesday.
In the midst of a flurry of notices about rigged matches cascading from Uefa on a near-weekly basis, the CFA has found itself in the dock for its failure to address the issue effectively.
In a bid to tackle the problem, the CFA announced stiff penalties last year, including relegation for repeat offenders.
A team named in a Uefa notification is usually fined €5,000 as a first step, then €10,000 fine, while third-time offenders will lose CFA funding.
Teams named in four notices have three points docked, six if there is a fifth, and nine for a sixth notice. A seven-time offender is relegated.
None of the teams named so far in the notifications have been sanctioned. The CFA said this was down to Uefa’s failure to assign responsibility for each ostensibly fixed match.
But Uefa has now proposed far more crushing penalties – in the first notice, six points deducted from the responsible club, along with a €50,000 fine; in the second, expelling the club from the local league for the remainder of the season; in the third, a five-year ban from any CFA-organised competition and a €1-million fine.
It has been agreed that, in each notice, Uefa will determine the club responsible for fixing the game.
In addition to these disciplinary sanctions, the justice ministry has announced a draft bill that calls for stringent penalties for offenders.
According to Lefkaritis, the CFA counter proposed slightly more lenient measures, including a fine-only penalty for first offenders, with Uefa’s measures to follow in repeat instances.
Uefa, he said, identified a failure by Cyprus authorities to determine what constitutes a criminal offence according to Cyprus law, effectively tying their hands in terms of investigating such cases effectively.
“But this does not mean that the CFA can sit back and let the state search for solutions,” Lefkaritis said.
“The association needs to get its house in order.”
CFA vice-chairman Harris Loizides told the Cyprus News Agency that the claim that the CFA dragged its feet in addressing this “terrible issue” is simply not true.
“In reality, the decisions we took last year included very strict penalties, almost as strict as those proposed by UEFA now,” he said, adding that implementation stumbled on identifying guilty clubs.
“According to what we’ve been told, Uefa will now designate the guilty club in its notices.”