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Paphos mayor to share match fixing information with police

Paphos mayor Phedonas Phedonos

Paphos mayor Phedonas Phedonos will share any information he has on football match-fixing with police next week, police spokesman Andreas Angelides said on Saturday.

On Friday, Fedonos had referred to a “brewing scandal that is about to break”, claiming it involved a Cyprus-based “network” profiting from illegal betting in fixed matches.

A meeting with police investigators was arranged for next week after a CID officer called the Paphos mayor following his public claims.

Meanwhile, the Cyprus News Agency reported on Saturday that a government bill on match-fixing is being reviewed by the Legal Service.

Last November, Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou had said match-fixing was on the rise and that the government aimed to bring a proposed bill to parliament “early next year”.

He had revealed that the bill “confers substantial authority” to the Cyprus Football Association’s Ethics Committee, so that it can gather the required evidence to help police investigate accordingly to combat match-fixing.

“If we don’t give investigators the necessary tools so they may either tap phones or the power to investigate this kind of cases you can be sure that we will not be able to address the situation only with the CFA’s disciplinary decisions,” the minister had said.

In January 2015, former top-tier referee Marios Panagi made public claims of corruption and match-fixing in Cyprus involving top CFA officials and other referees, prompting a police investigation that has yet to bear fruit.

CFA boss Kostakis Koutsokoumnis said last November that Cypriot football is “nearly destroyed” with regard to corruption levels and that the European confederation (UEFA) considers this an “extremely big problem”.

“This is what we have come to – being considered one of the worst countries in match-fixing,” he said.

An indicator of corruption in Cyprus football is the violence associated with it.

In recent years, bombings and arsons against property owned by individuals linked with professional football in Cyprus have become commonplace.

In a bid to curb the problem, the CFA last year introduced more stringent rules regarding matches deemed fixed by UEFA – based on suspicious betting patterns – with increasingly severe penalties for repeat offenders.

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