Football chief faces criminal charges

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The Committee of Ethics and Safeguarding in Sport (CESS) has recommended that criminal proceedings be brought against Cyprus Football Association (CFA) president George Koumas for abusing his position.

The committee’s recommendations, along with the findings of a probe it commissioned will be sent to the attorney general.

CESS has adopted the conclusions of the investigators Ilias Stefanou and Efthymios Efthymiou and says they will deliver their findings to the attorney general next Tuesday.

In addition, they have requested a meeting with Sports Minister Athena Michaelidou to inform her of the findings.

Koumas stands accused of having taken advantage of his position as CFA chairman while creating an “unfair advantage” for some clubs by manipulating the money paid to them as part of television rights.

CESS’ probe collected witness testimonies and evidence, concluding there may be a conflict of interest and abuse of power involving Koumas.

Any individual convicted under the conflict-of-interest law faces a prison sentence not exceeding three years, a fine not exceeding €75,000, or both.

Although not revealed by the Committee, the alleged conflict of interest has to do with Kouma’s status as a senior executive of the CFA, in conjunction with his capacity as a businessman dealing in television rights, producing sports television products, and having an interest in an agency representing athletes.

According to local media, the CFA gave money from television rights to teams as they saw fit, violating fair game regulations.

And that the CFA has handed out millions of euros in loans selectively to a handful of clubs.

The latest development casts a shadow on the leadership of Cypriot football, which had been implicated in a match-fixing scandal.

In June, Koumas refuted accusations by the head of the CESS, Charis Savvides, that the CFA withheld red notices for possibly fixed matches sent by the governing body of European Football, UEFA.