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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Cyprus denies match rigging for tonight’s World Cup qualifier ]

Cyprus denies match rigging for tonight’s World Cup qualifier

CYPRUS’ national football team yesterday dismissed as bogus an online news report claiming it was going to throw today’s World Cup qualifier against Bulgaria.

According to the Bulgarian sports website.sport1.bg (www.sport1.bg), an official of the Cyprus Football Association met secretly with Bulgarian counterparts to fix the game, which is a must-win for the Bulgarians. The Cypriot official had agreed that Cyprus would “lose” the match in return for €40,000, the website said.

The initial reaction from the National Teams Committee was a “no comment.”

Committee head Haris Loizides said such reports did not deign a response or deserve publicity.

“We shall deliver our answer on the field,” he said.

Bulgaria lies third in qualifying group 8, with four points from four games, all of them draws, ahead of Cyprus who have the same amount of points but a worse goal difference. Italy tops the group with 13 points from five matches.

In the same item, the website mentioned previous instances of alleged fixed games, for example in 2007 when the Bulgarians reportedly cut a deal with the Albanian national side. The Albanians were supposed to lose, but evidently had a change of heart, with the matching ending in a goalless draw.

And there is a history of dodgy dealings between Bulgaria and Cyprus, the website said, citing a fixture between the two nations held in Limassol in 1996. Cyprus, the hosts, lost 3-1 amid rampant speculation at the time that Cypriot bookmakers played big money on a Cyprus defeat.

The Cypriot squad are currently in Sofia, after registering a 1-0 win over Georgia at home last weekend. The Bulgarians meanwhile held the Irish 1-1 at Croke Park.in a match labeled as crucial if it were to retain any hope to qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and did so without its three most dangerous attacking players - Manchester United's Dimitar Berbatov, as well as Manchester City's Martin Petrov and Valeri Bojinov.

Bojinov's injury is the lightest and he could yet feature against Cyprus in Sofia today. Cyprus, however, is missing four of its key players.

Notwithstanding the allegations of game-fixing, Cyprus has a huge incentive to beat the Bulgarians today: the Cypriots have lost all nine previous clashes with the Eastern European nation and will be looking for some payback.

Asked about Cyprus’ prospects in today’s game, national team coach Angelos Anastasiades delivered his trademark shrug and sound byte: “It’s up to the Virgin Mary.”



(Source: Cyprus Mail)
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008 Please contact Cyprus Mail for the copyright terms of this article.



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