Cyprus Mail

Minister to brief party leaders over match-fixing

AG Giorgos Savvides

Justice Minister Giorgos Savvides will be meeting with political party leaders on Tuesday to discuss corruption in football, following a spate of recent revelations on match-fixing and irregular betting activity.

Akel head Andros Kyprianou and Diko boss Nicolas Papadopoulos will personally attend, while ruling Disy are to be represented by the party’s deputy chairman Giorgos Georgiou.

The minister will be briefing the parties on what actions the government is planning in order to tackle corruption in the game. The new drive to clean up the sport comes in the wake of several matches being flagged by Uefa, Europe’s governing body for football, as well as reports in the Spanish media, and the arrest and indictment here of two sports officials.

On Monday, Akel hosted a news conference where they presented their own proposal for promulgating dedicated legislation governing all matters related to sports.

Party head Andros Kyprianou said the proposal – formulated by experts and lawyers – covers the A to Z, including professional, semi-professional and amateur competitions.

He would be handing the blueprint over to the justice minister during Tuesday’s meeting.

“We need to be done with this state of affairs, because these goings-on offend us and discredit us abroad,” remarked Kyprianou.

Vasos Georgiou, a professor of Sport Law with the University of Nicosia, said Akel’s proposal covers the incorporation and establishment of sports companies, conflict of interest of club officials, term limits for officials serving in sports federations, regulating betting activity, television broadcasting rights, and the licensing of sports gyms.

Reports meanwhile said the Ethics and Protection of Sports Committee is finally getting into gear and will be summoning individuals who have information on corrupt practices in football.

According to daily Politis, the panel intends to summon Omonia football club chairman Stavros Papastavrou, former Ayia Napa club chairman Costas Elia, as well as Paphos mayor Phedonas Phedonos.

Also expected to be called is former referee-turned-whistleblower Marios Panayi.

The newspaper said the time and venue of the hearings will be kept confidential to prevent leaks and possible tampering and ensure that whistleblowers are protected.

A recent investigative report by a Spanish news outlet, el Confidencial, claimed that four match fixtures in Cyprus between 2017 and 2018 were linked with a match-fixing ring in Spain.

These connections had been inadvertently discovered by police in Spain while listening in on phone conversations about Spanish football.

The findings were then shared with authorities in Cyprus.

The lead reporter for el Confidencial said the wiretaps suggest Cyprus is the only country in Europe where football matches are not only fixed, but also that it’s prearranged which team will be crowned league champions or cup winners and make it to European competitions.

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