The Cyprus football association (CFA) on Monday docked nine points from Anorthosis football club after it upheld an appeal by Apollonas which had disputed the eligibility of the Famagusta team’s newly signed goalkeeper in a game between the two sides earlier this month.
Anorthosis, which had won the February 2 fixture 1-0, was docked the three points – now awarded to Apollonas – and lost an additional six for breaking the rules.
The goalkeeper, Nigerian national Francis Uzoho, was suspended for one game and fined an unspecified amount.
According to CyBC Anorthosis said it would appeal the decision.
The CFA’s decision followed a decision earlier on Monday by the sports organisation (KOA) to cancel its initial decision to issue a disputed medical card that enabled Uzoho to take part in the game just after he had been signed by Anorthosis Famagusta, prompting an appeal by the opponents.
In what has since become a farce, KOA eventually cancelled its decision to issue a medical card to Uzoho, who was acquired by Anorthosis on the last day of the January transfer period.
A statement issued after a meeting said the act of issuing the card was now considered something that “never happened and [was] non-existent”.
The card made the Nigeria-born goalkeeper eligible to play in a game against Apollonas the next day, Saturday, February 2, which Anorthosis won.
Apollonas disputed his eligibility and even reported possible forgery to the police.
The Limassol side said he had only arrived in Cyprus on Friday afternoon, shortly before 4pm, and questioned how he could have had his health card issued about an hour after KOA’s offices closed on Friday at 2.30pm.
KOA cancelled the medical card on February 9, as reports suggested Uzoho had told police he was on the plane on his way to Cyprus when the card was issued.
Police arrested three people in connection with the affair, including Anorthosis’ deputy chairman and doctor Kyriacos Yiangou. The three were released, as police continue their investigation.
The CFA, meanwhile, had twice cancelled a hearing of the case, asking KOA to inform it whether its decision to cancel card was effective before the February 2 game.
On Monday, KOA’s board decided to “rescind its February 9, 2019 decided and subsequently rescind KOA’s act of issuing a medical card for the footballer in question on February 1, 2019.”
Anorthosis reacted to KOA’s decision by issuing a scathing statement that included a veiled threat.
The club’s board “wishes to condemn with abhorrence” all that took place in the past days, culminating in the organisation’s decision on Monday, the statement said.
It accused KOA chairman Andreas Michaelides of dragging the organisation through successive failures that resulted in downgrading the position in the eyes of public opinion.
The club said Michaelides, a Limassol resident, in the few days he has held the office, has managed to make a mess of a simple case, deal KOA’s status a blow, and increase mistrust in football.
“And all this so that he can be able to move around comfortably in Limassol,” the statement said. “We thus urge you Mr Michaelides, to confine yourself to Limassol and immediately resign the post entrusted to you by the president of the Republic. You can tell the police the rest.”
The CFA’s decision means clubs’ positions in the league table have changed.
Apollon move to the top of the table, one point ahead of Apoel.
Anorthosis, having been deducted nine points drop from fifth place (34 points) to seventh (25 points) and are now in danger of missing out on a place in the top group for the upcoming playoffs.
Nea Salamina are now guaranteed a top-six place, with Omonia and Anorthosis battling for the final place on the last day of the regular season this weekend.