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Cyprus approves tough UEFA rules to combat match-fixing

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Nicosia, Nov 22 (IANS) Cyprus Football Association (CFA) has approved new tough rules to fight game fixing after Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) claimed that it detected unusually high betting activity on several Cypriot first and second division games.

A statement issued after a meeting of CFA's board on Monday night said it accepted rules submitted by UEFA, the governing body of European football.

UEFA's Cypriot Vice-President Marios Lefkaritis told the state radio that 23 or 24 matches during the current season and the previous one underwent scrutiny and were suspected to have been fixed, reports Xinhua.

UEFA sent so-called "red files" to CFA on the games asking for measures to be taken against teams or footballers suspected of being involved in the fixing.

Lefkaritis said that UEFA has detected that the betting is done mainly in Far East countries where rings are betting large sums on Cypriot games, creating strong suspicion that they fix them through associates on the island.

Such associates are believed to be behind the second bomb attack in four years against the business office of CFA's chairman Kostakis Koutsokoumnis last Friday.

UEFA's rules, which are now mandatory for Cypriot football, provide that a first "red file" on a team will carry a fine of 50,000 euros ($53,106).

A second file on the same team will lead to a 50,000-euro fine and a deduction of six points from the teams standing and a third one will lead to the cancellation of all CFA grants to the suspect team.

A fifth file carries a mandatory striking of the team off the records of CFA, meaning it cannot play any official matches.

Second division teams for which CFA receives two "red files" will not be able to ever be promoted to the first division.

Lefkaritis said that any penalties will be imposed on teams from now on as the rules are not retroactive.

--IANS

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