Cyprus Justice and Public Order Minister has said that Cyprus is in the midst of a match-fixing storm
Cyprus Justice and Public Order Minister, George Savvides, has said that Cyprus is in the midst of a match-fixing storm and announced that he has convened a meeting with the police on the matter this afternoon.
Savvides had been asked to comment on a Spanish newspaper’s report on Monday on the matter during statements at the Ministry today.
He said he became aware of the report yesterday afternoon and he conveyed all relevant data to the Chief of Police.
Replying to a question as to whether the report was unexpected, he posed the question of how can this be the case.
“I believe with everything that we have heard these past few days that we are in the midst of a great storm,” Savvides said.
He also pointed out that he has been urging anyone who has information to report it to the relevant police authorities.
“This is what I did as soon as I became aware of the reports,” he said, adding that he conveyed the contents to the Chief of Police.
A deluge of statements and information via various websites followed both yesterday evening and this morning and therefore, he continued, I convened a meeting so that I can be informed about the specific issue, as well as about all the other issues that concern ongoing investigations on the possibility of football match-fixing.
Asked whether he was aware of the content of the Spanish case which has been in the possession of police for some time now and was submitted to the Legal Service on January 30, Savvides reiterated that “I became aware of the reports in the early afternoon yesterday,” adding that he felt it was necessary for him to convene a meeting this afternoon with the police leadership and all those handling the case and all other cases which have to do with match-fixing.
Replying to another question he said that all aspects of the case and what constitutes acceptable evidence and how it can be made use of or evaluated will be the subject matter of the meeting.
He did not wish to reveal whether there are other cases the police are investigating, saying it wouldn’t be right to prepare the ground for police authorities’ next steps in press conferences.
Replying to a question about whether more notifications from the UEFA on suspicious fixtures he said that he will have a clear picture within the day but added that a UEFA notification alone is not able to lead to a conviction.
Spanish footballer’s conversations were sent to Legal Service end of January, Police say
In the meantime, replying to CNA questions earlier today about the Spanish press report, Police Spokesperson Christos Andreou confirmed that during two operations by the Spanish police in 2018 the telephone calls of a Spanish footballer who was in Cyprus at the time were revealed which contained possible information about match-fixing in Cyprus football.
The Spanish authorities, he said, shared with the Cyprus police that during their operations they arrested and interrogated a footballer who was playing football in Cyprus at the time, adding that the Spanish police investigation did not lead to specific bets which would prove that match-fixing had taken place.
Andreou continued saying that on March 12, 2019, a message was received by the Cyprus police which was conveyed by the Spanish authorities which referred to the possible involvement of footballers and people involved in Cyprus’ First Division championship in match-fixing.
“According to the message, during two operations undertaken by the Spanish police in 2018, they received telephone conversations of a Spanish footballer who was at the time competing in Cyprus which contained possible information on football match-fixing,” he noted. The Spanish authorities’ message also had part of the footballer’s suspicious conversations attached, he added.
The Police Spokesman pointed out however that monitoring and recording telephone conversations in Cyprus is forbidden and once the information was received the case was submitted before the Legal Service. The directions given were for the Cypriot and Spanish authorities to have a meeting aiming to receive the full content of the conversations, he said.
At the meeting, he continued, which took place on July 23, 2019, it was decided that the conversations would be handed over to the Cypriot authorities. The conversations were translated from the Spanish to the English language and were sent to the Cyprus police for evaluation.
The translated content of the conversations reached the Cyprus Police in October 2019 and was translated into the Greek language. The case was submitted to the Law Office of the Republic on January 30. The police asked directions on how to handle it, he added.
The report appeared on Monday in the Spanish online newspaper “El Confidencial”.
Justice Minister says all complaints about fixing matches must be investigated
Minister of Justice and Public Order George Savvides sent a clear message on Tuesday to the Police that each and every case and complaint regarding match manipulation must be investigated, irrespective of who is involved, as is also the wish of President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades and the Police.
Speaking after a broad meeting at the Presidential Palace regarding sports facilities, Savvides also referred to Spanish press reports regarding match-fixing, noting that an opinion has been requested from the Attorney General.
Savvides said that as soon as he heard of the Spanish press reports, he requested an update from the Police and called a meeting with senior Police officials, including the Chief of Police.
Replying to questions regarding the Attorney General’s opinion, Savvides said the aim was, taking into consideration the quality of the information, to decide on how to proceed with the investigations.
Asked what the President said about the matter, Savvides said President Anastasiades has expressed his will publicly and reminded that it was after the President’s statements that a series of meetings began and UEFA representatives were invited.