Cyprus police arrest soccer player amid match-fixing probe
NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus police have arrested a 30-year-old soccer player in connection with a probe into alleged match-fixing in the country’s second-tier league and cup games.
Police said Sunday the arrest was linked to two matches for which there was “heavy betting activity.”
The development comes two days after the Cypriot soccer federation suspended all matches after a referee walkout because of a bombing attack against a colleague’s car.
Federation officials will meet with referees’ association bosses on Monday to see when matches can resume.
UEFA recently notified the federation of suspicious betting activity on three second-division matches and a pair of cup matches.
While Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has pledged to clean up the sport, he has angered referees by saying that some among them are in cahoots with corrupt individuals within the sport.
Cyprus Justice Minister George Savvides has said that UEFA will be asked to send experts to the country to assist in the investigation.
Savvides said it’s difficult to unravel the match-fixing allegations, but expressed hope that whistleblowers would step forward. He said such probes are hindered by the fact that no Cypriot law exists which permits telephone wire-tapping for serious crimes.