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Ex-referee plans to reignite match fixing claims

Marios Panayi

After one of the island’s biggest clubs issued a statement accusing the Cyprus football association (CFA) and other teams of corruption, former referee Marios Panayi is reportedly preparing to file more complaints against CFA boss Giorgos Koumas whom he had named a few years ago as being behind match fixing.

Panayi’s intention came to light on Tuesday at the same time as reports claimed the CFA had received two so-called red notices from Uefa relating to two suspicious cup fixtures involving at least two first division teams.

In a letter to the CFA and the sports organisation (KOA), a lawyer representing Marios Panayi is asking whether there was an authority in Cyprus where someone could file complaints concerning senior sports officials.

“Our client intends to lodge complaints relating to sports, mainly concerning CFA chairman Mr Giorgos Koumas, and as such he must know of the procedures regarding such complaints as well as the transparency process,” the letter, published by sports outlet said.

Panayi had spoken out about match fixing and Koumas again in 2014 but none of his allegations could stand in court, according to police.

At the time, Panayi claimed he had recordings, documents and other evidence proving that members of the CFA were fixing matches, in particular those deciding which team would be relegated to the second division.

Panayi identified Koumas who, at the time, was the deputy head of the CFA, as the man behind the curtain, stressing that if he was not removed from the picture, then professional football in Cyprus was a lost cause.

In an unprecedented move last week, Nicosia club Omonia issued a statement saying there is widespread corruption in Cypriot football and the situation is not likely to change under the current CFA leadership.

Omonia said the outcome of several of its games had been altered by poor and biased refereeing, adding that it intended to ask Uefa and Fifa to intervene.

In a related development, said Uefa has sent two notices concerning two cup games, which showed unusual betting activity.

One was the November 27 game between first division teams Pafos FC and Ayia Napa, which the former won 3-0. All the goals were scored in the second half.

The portal said there was a second notice though there were no details.

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