NICOSIA (Reuters) – The second tier of Cyprus soccer will resume on April 19 after a week-long suspension prompted by match-fixing suspicions, the island’s soccer governing body said, giving teams a warning of points deductions and financial penalties in future.
The Cyprus Football Association (CFA) received a number of warning letters from the European game’s ruling body UEFA concerning second division fixtures in early April, and announced a suspension on April 9.
Four unspecified matches are being investigated by the police.
The CFA said teams who had played in a game whose result had been found to be suspect by UEFA would not receive their allotted 60,000 euro (£52,073) season funding from the CFA.
There would be further points deduction and fines if a team participated in two suspect matches or more, with a five-year ban for clubs subject to inquiries for five fixtures.
CFA Chairman Georgios Koumas told reporters UEFA was consulted during the decision-making process.
“The situation was so critical that we needed to take charge and make decisions,” Koumas told reporters late on Tuesday.
The CFA has also decided that from next season the second division will be split into two groups of eight, with the top four from each group facing off to decide which two will get promoted to the first division.
Those finishing in the final four places of each group will play each other to decide which four teams are relegated to the third division.
(Reporting by Peter Stevenson; Editing by David Holmes)