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Paphos mayor stands by football match-fixing claims

Paphos mayor Phedonas Phedonos

Paphos mayor Phedonas Phedonos on Friday insisted on his allegation that a football club paid off the other with €65,000 to throw the Cyprus football cup final a few years ago, and said many others are aware of the incident.

Phedonos first made the claim last Saturday night while appearing as a guest on a TV comedy talk-show – Pringipas Saturday Night.

Taking questions from viewers, Phedonas was asked whether he knew a way for Omonia football club, which has been suffering poor form and even poorer finances in recent years, to win the league.

“Well, there is a way,” the mayor replied.

“You know there are league and cup titles in the past that were won with brown envelopes. An envelope containing €65,000 changed hands, and there’s your cup title. One such title was won a few years ago with €65,000.”

In a letter to the attorney-general’s office on Thursday, the Cyprus Football Association (CFA) – which organises the cup tournament – demanded that the allegations are investigated immediately and anyone involved brought before justice.

“You will agree that [the allegations] bring football into disrepute,” the letter said.

“Because they are serious and must be investigated, we kindly ask that you give instructions for Mr Phedonos to provide details on his allegations.”

Speaking on Active radio on Friday morning, the mayor said he knows who transferred the cash and who received it.

“What’s important is that, for a case to hold up in court there must be testimony from one of the three involved – the one who paid the money, the middleman who transferred it, and the recipient,” Phedonos said.

“I have first-hand knowledge from one of the three that it happened, and that is not in dispute.”

He claimed that “up to 150 people” might be aware of this particular incident.

But asked why he won’t testify on the case himself, Phedonos said that with the current law it is likely that the witness will probably find himself accused, which is why new legislation is required for witness protection.

“I am not at risk of being accused, but anyone giving a police statement is told that anything he says might incriminate him and lead him to court – it’s frightening,” he said.

Phedonos said “some don’t want parliament to change the law” because this way many might open their mouth about businessmen and bank officials.

He said he will discuss the details of the case with the attorney-general.

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