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Cyprus

Cyprus football caught in a storm, says justice minister

Justice Minister Giorgos Savvides

“We are in the middle of a storm,” Justice Minister George Savvides said on Tuesday after a report that the Spanish police has given Uefa information that could prove that Cyprus’ 2018 football League and Cup were fixed was published on Monday on Spanish news website El Confidencial.

According to the report, Uefa has asked the Spanish police to provide all information on match-fixing in Spain so the European football authority can clamp down on a similar ring in Cyprus.

The report refers to four match fixtures in Cyprus between 2017 and 2018 linked with the match-fixing ring in Spain. The link is believed to be Spaniard Jorge Larena, who was a footballer at AEK from 2014 to 2019.

“As soon as I read the report, I immediately contacted the chief of police to ask for clarifications and to set up today’s meeting,” Savvides said.

“It is clear we are in the middle of a storm and we have been for quite some time when it comes to match-fixing allegations in our country.

“However, I want to make it clear that I had no previous knowledge of the allegations reported by the Spanish website on Monday. That is why I deemed it appropriate to call a meeting today, to shed some light on the whole situation.

“I can guarantee we are looking into the report but, so far, we are not prepared to say whether there is truth in the allegations it made. We need to analyse it carefully before we can comment on it from a legal standpoint.”

Apoel, which the report linked to the ring, said it was baseless and dismissed it as slanderous and lies. AEK said it knew nothing about the allegations.

The Cyprus Football Association (CFA) said it had not been informed by Uefa of anything concerning the alleged match fixtures mentioned, nor had Uefa sent any red notices concerning the games mentioned.

Asked if there are more cases than those mentioned in the Spanish report, Savvides said he cannot disclose any information regarding ongoing investigations, but assured that “the police is doing whatever needs to be done and making full use of the information currently in their possession.”

He also urged not to focus just on the red notices sent to Cyprus by Uefa, “as the red notices alone do not guarantee automatic proof or conviction.”

Akel spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said “the allegations made by the Spanish media outlet are very serious and deserve to be properly investigated by the police.

“We expect clear and tangible results from the government. They are claiming they are doing everything in their power to clean up football. But we can only judge their work on the basis of the results they will provide in the near future.”

 



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