Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
Two of the three major Cypriot political parties have responded to allegations that they met with the Cyprus Football Association (CFA) in order to fix football matches. In an interview with the Cyprus Times on 1 March, international referee Marios Panayi claimed that Averof Neophytou, President of the DISY political party, was present at a meeting between match officials and CFA Deputy Chairman Giorgos Koumas.
At an earlier 17 December 2014 press conference, Panayi claimed that Koumas appointed officials with the intention of fixing games. He also claimed to have extensive evidence of match-fixing in Cypriot football which sparked a police investigation resulting in two arrests during January.
‘The DISY reiterates its position that all allegations made should be throughly investigated, along with any other information that comes to light’, read a DISY statement yesterday. ‘The President of the party, Mr. A. Neophytou, has asked the Attorney General and the Chief of Police to begin immediate and thorough investigations into the allegations.’
Rival political party AKEL took the opportunity to reiterate its denial of Panayi’s December allegations that it met with CFA officials to fix games. It also denied that January’s arrests of Cypriot referee’s association President Michalis Argyrou and referee Michalis Spyrou were designed to cover up a wider match-fixing problem. The two have been charged and released.
‘Despite the absence of any official information on the part of the prosecution and police on how investigations are progressing, there are reasonable grounds to believe that the issue of Panayi’s complaints were played down and any arrests were made for the “eyes of the world”, because they were only the tip of the iceberg’, read a 2 March statement. ‘We wish to deny this. AKEL will not accept any covering up of this serious issue’.
The CFA has also said that it will investigate the new allegations. It is holding an Extraordinary General Assembly today in Nicosia, which is open to the media.
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