Cyprus vows to end silence on match-fixing

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Cypriot authorities have urged people with evidence of match-fixing in football to come forward with Justice Minister George Savvides pledging there will be no cover-up.

“Whoever loves football, it’s not enough to say they have information,” Savvides said. “They have to provide it to police,” said Savvides.

Cyprus and European football governing body UEFA have agreed to forge closer links to bolster the fight against possible match-fixing.

Savvides said UEFA officials and Cyprus police agreed to establish “direct lines of communication” to speed up the exchange of information that could help in unravelling suspected match-fixing.

A delegation from UEFA met with Savvides, senior police officers and officials from the Cyprus Football Association after Nicosia asked for help in an ongoing probe into match-fixing allegations.

“I hope this meeting marks the start of improved cooperation so we can lead football where we want to, far from decay, illegal betting activity and corruption,” said Savvides.

Police are investigating four second division matches and two cup games in Cyprus that UEFA said displayed suspicious betting activity, suggested they were fixed.

UEFA will also provide additional training to Cypriot police officers. Savvides repeated an appeal to anyone with information on fixed matches to step forward.

UEFA and the Cypriot authorities agreed to closer and more institutionalised cooperation to address the phenomenon of fixed matches.

It was noted that the problem can be addressed but time is needed as this is not a process that will bring immediate results.

UEFA experts briefed police on the processes through which information is collected and the way this can help determine possible targets.

Head of the UEFA delegation Jozef Kliment said Cypriot institutions and authorities wish to address corruption, and that match-fixing constitutes one of the greatest threats against football not only in Cyprus but worldwide.