Cypriot football is no stranger to match fixing allegations and other apocryphal stories of a corruption-related nature.
This week, however, authorities appear to have lost some good will with fans who had otherwise been demanding that corruption and other illicit practices be rooted out of Cyprus football.
The state’s Sports Ethics Committee drew much ire from Anorthosis Famagusta and Apollon Limassol supporters in particular after it made public its intent to investigate the weekend game between the two sides for match fixing.
However, the game was neither highlighted for match fixing by UEFA, who usually notify the respective association in the country the game takes place in, nor was there heightened or otherwise unusual betting activity around the fixture, another indicator of potentially illegal activity.
The president of the committee, Andreas Papacharalambous, stated that the committee was looking into the game because of a short video clip making the rounds online. The clip shows Anorthosis goalkeeper Giorgi Loria allegedly signifying the corner where Apollon Limassol forward Charlison Benschop should pick with his spot-kick.
Meanwhile, the Sports Ethics Committee confirmed that not only did the game not indicate abnormal betting activity, but also that no one from the government requested information or data on the game’s betting activity from the committee itself, nor from betting shops around the island.
Apollon and Anorthosis have denied any wrongdoing and have pursued all legal and public avenues to put the issue to bed. Both clubs have made themselves available to the authorities while also vehemently protecting themselves from what they describe as baseless allegations.
It will be interesting to see how this case progresses over time – legally, publicly, and politically, particularly in light of so many other cases in Cypriot football which have yet to be dealt with or even looked into.