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Match fixing bill should only cover team sports

Any attempt to apply legislation, based on the relative EU Commission directives to combat match fixing, to other sports could very much minimalise its aim and effectiveness according to Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday following a meeting of the House Education and Culture Committee, Nicolaou explained that the proposed legislation had been prepared according to the provisions set out by the EU Commission’s Convention regarding team sports organised by federations.

“Expanding it to other sporting events will cause problems in its implementation and to the response of the Ethics and Sports Protection Committee and will effectively minimise the effectiveness and aims as set out by the relevant Bill,” said Nicolaou.

The five-member Ethics and Sports Protection Committee will be set up as provided for by the relevant bill and will be formed by two members with legal training and three other members but everyone should have knowledge and experience on sport and be of recognised professional standing.

“Because the problem we face at the moment involves the manipulation of team sports in Federation championships, we insisted that the bill should be limited to the provisions of the Convention,” he added.

“Our aim is to ensure the Sports Ethics Committee will be able to collect all the necessary information to investigate cases of manipulation of sporting events,” said the Minister.

Cyprus has received files from UEFA on local games where match fixing has been suspected but until now, it hasn’t been able to investigate a single case due to legislative loopholes.

“It is necessary that collectively, we supply the investigating authorities with the necessary legislative armoury to investigate these type of cases effectively,” said Nicolaou.

Penalties for match fixing are set to be strict in order to act as deterrents and include a maximum seven-year prison sentence and a €200,000 fine while bribery will be punished by a maximum five-year prison sentence and a €100,000 fine.

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