Probe into 20 suspect football games

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As new match-fixing claims emerge, the Sports Ethics Committee has commissioned a probe into 20 red notice alerts for Cypriot football fixtures.

The committee has assigned four lawyers to look into red notices from the European football authority UEFA following reports of high betting activity over four games in the past two weeks.

The committee assigned Elias Lampides to look into the Omonia Nicosia-AEK Larnaca game, Anna Sotiri to investigate the Olympiakos Nicosia- Akritas Chlorakas match, Charilaos Chrisanthou was given the Olympiakos-Doxa Katokopia game, and Nicolas Koursaris the Paralimni- AEL Limassol fixture.

The committee has also commissioned a probe into 11 red notices for games involving Karmiotissa FC and five with Ermis Aradippou.

However, the authority did not wish to announce the names of investigators assigned to those cases.

The decision follows after a former Cyprus Sports Ethics Committee member, Charis Savvides, told MPs that the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) had recently sent an email involving red notices for 16 matches likely to have been manipulated.

Savvides told MPs there was a coverup, as the Cyprus Football Association (CFA) did not take the designated measures to investigate the games and denied receiving any red notice for them.

On Wednesday, Savvides told state radio CyBC: “The matter could potentially extend to the political realm.”

Earlier in the month, another former member of the sports ethics committee alleged intervention from former President Nicos Anastasiades to stop investigations into one of the 16 games.

Anastasiades had refuted the claims.

Savvides also claimed that a UEFA official was also in on the coverup, telling media that he had given authorities the person’s name.

He argued that according to CFA regulations, the two teams involved in the alerts should have been struck off the Association’s register.

CFA rules dictate that a club is demoted to the next division following three strikes, while four strikes have them scratched off.

CFA chair George Koumas, the executive board, disciplinary prosecutors, and other CFA officials will be investigated for their role in a possible coverup.

Meanwhile, the Sports Ethics Committee will also look into a case of possible conflict of interest involving the CFA chair, reported Phileleftheros daily.

Koumas, in addition to being a high-ranking member of the CFA, is also a businessman active in football television rights management.

According to documents obtained by a Phileleftheros journalist, companies owned by Koumas were selling services to broadcast Cyprus football games to CytaVision, when he was an official of the CFA.

Koumas has refuted claims of wrongdoing, arguing that Cypriot authorities have investigated the issue without evidence of misconduct.