Cyprus takes steps to combat football corruption

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President Nicos Anastasiades headed a meeting on Friday over introducing more measures against match-fixing in Cyprus football, a persistent problem that authorities have failed to address over the years.

Following the meeting, President Anastasiades after being informed of action taken so far announced a number of additional measures to combat corruption.

A Deputy Ministry of Sports is to be created, tasked with handling all cases of reported corruption and match-fixing.

It will also enforce a Code of Conduct, taking over from the Cyprus Sports Organisation, while preparing a bill to amend the law governing the National Betting Authority.

“Given that the Government attaches great importance to combating corruption in Cyprus football, it is determined, in cooperation with the political parties, the relevant Associations and wider sporting stakeholders, to take further action,” said the President.

He noted that from now, all second division games will be videotaped and archived, while the government is to monitor the strict application of a 2017 law on match-fixing.

The matter resurfaced recently following the arrival of several notices from European football governing body UEFA suggesting that six matches had been fixed.

UEFA had sent six such notices over the past month while more than 85 have been received since 2011 but authorities have failed to resolve any of the cases.

The latest suspect cases involved four second division matches and two cup ties.

All the UEFA notices show suspicious betting activity, usually in Asian markets where the identities of the punters cannot be determined.

Meanwhile, top-flight teams have called the European football governing body to intervene as they claim, corruption has taken over Cyprus football

One of the island’s biggest clubs, Omonia, has come out in public claiming corruption in Cypriot football was rampant, while the club’s president Stavros Papastavrou said that championships can be bought.

Papastavrou said that he was approached by people involved in Cyprus football and was given a price list for the championship and the cup.

AEL Limassol has spoken of connections leading figures in Cyprus football have with the underworld.

Apollon Limassol called for the Cyprus Football Association to replace Cypriot referees with foreign ones, due to their poor performance which has raised suspicions.

The CFA has recently decided to recruit foreign officials in certain games, something it previously did in the 2009-2010 playoffs and some cup finals.