Coronation, crime and corruption

The King of Cypriot football has been crowned – again. Like all coronations, there is no rival but the game is far from healthy in the realm of Giorgos Koumas, under whose presidency the failings of the Cyprus Football Association (CFA) were mercilessly exposed before he was re-elected unopposed.

By Steve Menary

In a series of incendiary parliamentary hearings in the run-up to the election on July 10, Koumas was accused of a serious conflict of interest and the CFA of covering up betting alerts that indicate potential match-fixing in matches played by the island’s clubs.

The allegations were made during a parliamentary enquiry into football on the island, which has long been dogged by allegations of match-fixing and wider problems of corruption.

The hearings, which have gripped Cyprus, unearthed a range of issues that cut deep into the heart of Cypriot football, including allegations of cover-ups and links with organised crime. The allegations also raise serious questions about Uefa’s relationship with the CFA and its president Giorgos Koumas, who was an executive committee member of Uefa and a member of FIFA’s council until 2019.

The enquiry was kicked-started by incendiary allegations made in May by the former chairman of the Sports & Ethics Committee, Andreas Papacharalambous, against Nicos Anastasiades, who was the island’s president until standing down in May this year.

Papacharalambous told the podcast Legal Matters that while he was in office, Anastasiades personally called him and asked him not to look...

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