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Former sports ethics chief reiterates claims about match fixing

footie
File photo

Following a spat with former President Nicos Anastasiades, ex-chairman of the sports ethics committee Andreas Papapcharalmabous on Friday published a letter dated February 9, 2021, which he said backed his claims the former president had encouraged the turning of a blind eye to match fixing.

The letter also explained the reasons behind Papacharalambous’ resignation.

Speaking to podcast Legal Matters on Thursday, Papacharalambous 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 were later vehemently dismissed by the former president, who called them “false, unfounded and vulgar.”

The resignation letter republished on Friday by Papacharalmabous spoke of “serious gaps in the legislation dealing with cases of match-fixing.

“I do not want to be seen as if I was abandoning the post,” he wrote. “I never gave up on anything, it is not my character.

“Shortly after I was appointed (as the president of the sports ethics committee), we identified serious weaknesses in the legislation due to a lack of proper regulations.

“We informed the president, the justice ministry and the leaders of political parties Disy, Akel, Diko and Edek. We explained the situation to them very thoroughly. To date, nothing has been done,” Papacharalambous wrote at the time of his resignation,

He also said the committee attempted to find solutions to match-fixing allegations for a year, without, however, being aware of who would be able to address the situation.

“Another serious problem is the strong backing that sports gets from political parties and from politicians.

“In addition to that, the easy access to sport enjoyed by agents neutralises every effort to crack down on corruption.

“To whomever and whatever authorities the committee approached for a solution to the problems, our doors were always open, but we never got any help,” Papacharalambous wrote, adding that not resigning from the post would make him an accomplice of the situation.

On Thursday, he pointed the finger directly at Anastasiades, saying that, during his presidency, none of the many allegations of match fixing reported to the authorities led to arrests or fines.

“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,” he said.

The former President then rebuffed all accusations in a statement released later in the day.

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

“If what Papacharalambous said is true, he should have publicly denounced the situation as soon as he 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 concluded.

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