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22 May, 2024
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CFA president talks trouble in soccer paradise

Koumas says there are no concealed red notices but admits serious challenges with police probes


The top official of the Cyprus Football Association has denied allegations that his group concealed UEFA red notices, telling lawmakers instead that his group made its own rules that were even tougher because police were unable to solve cases.

CFA president George Koumas testified before a House watchdog committee on Wednesday, following allegations that officials dropped the ball and failed to probe match fixing cases.

“Soccer is a part of our society, yes, we do have serious problems,” Koumas said.

The CFA official appeared before the committee after repeated calls by lawmakers, who wanted Koumas to address allegations that his group had concealed red notices and never took action to punish those responsible in match fixing.

Koumas denied the allegations and argued no red notices were ever concealed.

“As an association we did what we could to get rid of ills within fixed matches, and so on” Koumas said.

Last month during another House hearing, Harris Savvides -former member of Committee of Ethics and Safeguarding in Sports- had told lawmakers that CFA failed to forward red notices from UEFA regarding suspicious betting activity.

The hearing was put together after CESS former chairman Andreas Papacharalambous accused Cyprus’ former President Nicos Anastasiades of interfering with probes and asking him to drop an investigation.

Anastasiades has vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

But Koumas admitted on Wednesday to lawmakers that police authorities were unable to solve cases, with the CFA president also saying his group had consulted with UEFA officials to bring an Interpol officer who worked in conjunction with the union.

“The officer stayed in Cyprus for three days, this took place back in 2018,” Koumas said.

Koumas went on to say that CFA came up with its own rules that were very tough.

“I state unequivocally that there is no hidden red notice, none,” Koumas said.

Conflict of interest

The CFA president was also called upon to address reports of possible conflict of interest, after an article by daily Phileleftheros last month pointed out Koumas was found to have had business interests in soccer television rights management.

According to the report, companies owned by Koumas were selling services to broadcast Cypriot football games to CytaVision while at the same he had been an official with CFA.

Koumas has refuted the claims and told lawmakers that the rights belonged to clubs and not the CFA.

“As some clubs had been homeless, the championship would have moved at two different speeds so we spoke with networks and ended up landing on a deal with CYTA,” Koumas said.

Money had been distributed based on parameters, Koumas said, adding that there were “private deals with clubs that signed up with the CFA package.

“We did this out of a need to avoid having homeless clubs,” Koumas said, adding that he had been “examined excessively both in Cyprus and abroad” on the issue.

Cyprus  |  soccer  |  football  |  UEFA  |  Koumas  |  red notice  |  match fixing  |  corruption

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