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Witnesses to match-fixing say they were bombed

Witnesses have reported bomb attacks and being threatened when called to testify on match fixing allegations, the former member of the sports ethics committee Charis Savvides told the House institutions committee on Wednesday.

He said that back in 2020, when he was still on the committee, the boss of Omonia football club Stavros Papastavrou complained about match-fixing to the committee.

He said a few days after, when the file had gone to the attorney-general’s office to be examined, witnesses called to testify were victims of bomb attacks, while a third was threatened.

Following the accusations on match-fixing by Papastavrou, Savvides told the committee on Wednesday that people even started calling him an Omonia supporter, despite the accusations being very serious.

A representative from the attorney-general’s office also told the committee, witnesses of a serious match-fixing incident refused to testify.

Chiming in, Savvides questioned authorities, saying: “Explain to me how witnesses who were ready to testify receive threats and leave? How do we expect the ordinary person to provide evidence and assure them of security?”

Speaking after the meeting, the head of the institutions committee opposition Disy MP Demetris Demetriou said that the committee thoroughly examined the issues that concern football, noting at the same time that the discussion continued with great care and respect for the investigative procedures that have begun on the so-called red match-fixing files, an issue which he said had come to the fore since the previous committee session three weeks ago.

He added that there were also revelations on Wednesday in relation to the way the investigation was conducted in 2020 regarding Papastavrou’s complaints, but also how the sports ethics committee is being run currently.

“If we want to see this good called football being embraced by the public again to the extent that we all desire, transparency should prevail,” he said.

He added that both the discussion and the parliamentary monitoring of the issue will continue, noting that despite the delicate balances they cannot turn a blind eye.

 

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