Former President Nicos Anastasiades deemed the claims made by the former chairman of the sports ethics committee Andreas Papacharalambous “false, unfounded and vulgar.”

Speaking to podcast Legal Matters on Thursday, Papacharalambous, who resigned from his post in February 2021, said that, while in office, Anastasiades personally called him and asked him not to look into allegations of match fixing regarding a friendly football match between Apollon and Karmiotissa.

“His claims are nothing but lies made by an individual who failed in the important mission entrusted to him,” Anastasiades said in a statement.

Furthermore, he said that “if what Papacharalambous said is true, he should have publicly denounced the situation as soon as the found out about it.”

“On the contrary, despite his poor relationship with all the other members of the committee, he kept to his post for longer than necessary, preventing the smooth functioning of the institution and, consequently, the investigation of all allegations requiring further proof,” the former President said.

Papacharalambous made incendiary and direct accusations to Anastasiades during his interview on Thursday morning.

“He (Anastasiades) told me that it was just a friendly game and it was not worth investigating the allegations surrounding it,” the former sports ethics committee chairman said.

Commenting on the relationship with the former president, he said that Anastasiades never accepted other opinions on these matters.

“He never accepted a different opinion than his own. I was appointed chairman of an independent body and he essentially wanted me to engage in corruption.”

Papacharalambous added that, during the Anastasiades presidency, none of the many allegations of match fixing reported to the authorities eventually led to arrests or fines.

“After he told me not to investigate the game between Apollon and Karmiotissa, I decided to resign,” he said, adding that all football matches involving the two teams in the past raised suspicions of illegal sports betting.

“Everyone covered for Anastasiades and he wanted me to do the same. Basically, he wanted to stop an investigation.

The former president is a keen Apollon supporter.

“He called me to allegedly discuss another matter. However, shortly after, he mentioned the friendly game and said to ‘leave it alone, as we have more serious things to do than look into these sort of matches.’”

Speaking to Cyprus Mail on Thursday, the former sports ethics committee chairman said Anastasiades’ refusal to investigate the situation pushed him to resign.

“I just wanted to do my job,” he said. “Instead, I was told not to go ahead with the investigation, what else could I have done in that situation?

“Over the years, we counted many suspicious situations linked to allegations of match fixing and the European football body (Uefa) was aware of the problems in Cyprus. This was a concrete situation linked to a particular game and yet I was told to ‘leave it alone,’” Papacharalambous said.

Shortly before resigning over two years ago, he also said “the current legislation cannot tackle match fixing and it does not appear that politicians are in any hurry to fix this.”

He also cast doubt of the seriousness of officials to have a sports ethics committee.

“I do not believe any political leadership wants this committee (the sports ethics committee) to function, nor club officials,” Papacharalambous told Alpha television.

Cyprus has seen several reports of match fixing in recent years, but the authorities have so far failed to identify any suspects and to arrest people involved in it.