UEFA holds reasons for suspension
UEFA, the umbrella organisation of football federations, is still compiling a document to justify its decision to suspend a Maltese footballer for rigging a European qualifier against Norway in 2007.
Until it is released, Maltese international player Kevin Sammut cannot appeal his 10-year suspension.
The 31-year-old is insisting on his innocence. Two other Maltese footballers implicated in the scandal have been acquitted.
Contacted yesterday at its headquarters in Geneva, a UEFA spokesman said it had no deadline to publish its justification, adding this very much depended “on the workload of the office working on it”.
The spokesman explained the procedure adopted by its disciplinary body that first decides on a case, after hearing witnesses, then draws up the “reasoned decision”.
This would include a full list of reasons for finding someone guilty of an offence.
Once this document is passed on to the interested parties – in this case the Malta Football Association, Mr Sammut and his lawyers – Mr Sammut has three days to file an appeal, of which he has already given notice.
The case came to light in May last year after Croatian fraudster Marijo Cvrtak, an ally of Ante Sapina who headed a notorious betting syndicate, testified during his trial in Bochum that he met at least three Malta players at an Oslo hotel to rig the Norway-Malta game, played on June 2, 2007.
The Malta Football Association concluded its own independent probe in March and passed on the findings to UEFA, which had asked to take over the case as the match fell under its jurisdiction.
MFA president Norman Darmanin Demajo said he was convinced that the Euro 2008 qualifier was fixed and, in his opinion, more than one player was involved, especially since €200,000 had been bet on the match.
He said the evidence was “overwhelming”, however, he declined to release the findings of the MFA probe.
Earlier this week, the Norwegian Football Association distanced itself from the scandal but insisted match-fixing should be severely punished.
In comments to The Times, the Norwegian FA said its players had “no information” on match-fixing before, during or after the game, and there was nothing that stirred suspicion.