Former Cyprus soccer official welcomes UEFA’ suit

A former Cyprus soccer official plans to use UEFA’s defamation

lawsuit against him to prove his allegations that the 2012 European

Championship was corruptly awarded to Poland and Ukraine.

Spyros Marangos said Friday that the legal action will give him

a chance to prove his claims that four UEFA officials took bribes

of more than $13.8 million to sell the tournament rights in

2007.

The eastern European neighbors defeated favorite Italy 8-4 in a

vote of UEFA executive committee members.

”My purpose is to let the truth shine,” Marangos said, adding

that he has testimony from three Cypriot witnesses and ”specific

documentation which prove the scandal.”

UEFA said it is acting against Marangos because he missed a

Wednesday deadline to provide evidence backing his claims.

But Marangos said that he will only disclose the evidence in a

Cyprus court because he doesn’t trust UEFA and fears a cover-up. He

said he would refuse to testify abroad, insisting that legal

proceedings must take place in Cyprus, where he feels he will

receive a fair trial.

”I have told UEFA that I don’t trust them to give them my

evidence … we will turn over the evidence to Cypriot justice,”

he said.

Marangos said a planned meeting with UEFA officials in August

when he would have handed over the evidence was scrapped by the

European football body at the last minute.

He said the alleged payoffs to the four unnamed UEFA officials

were made through a law office based in the southern coastal town

of Limassol that ”represents Ukrainian interests.”

Officials in Poland and Ukraine have denied Marangos’ claims,

while soccer officials in Cyprus and Italy also dismissed the

allegations.

Marangos, a former treasurer of the Cypriot Football

Association, left the body in 2007 after failing to win re-election

to its board. He said he expects legal proceedings against him to

begin in a month’s time.

Also Friday, Romania’s anti-corruption prosecutors said they are

investigating the country’s soccer federation president over claims

he took a bribe to vote for the 2012 European Championship to be

held in Poland and Ukraine.

Mircea Sandu has denied the allegations.