- Odera Peter Ofornadu and Kypros Onisiforou were initially banned for alleged match-fixing
- Players sought the help of Cypriot player union PASP
- During their appeal, no proof was found that they received any benefit for the alleged manipulation
Cypriot player association PASP (Pancyprian Footballers Association) helped save the careers of two players, after the union successfully convinced the Appeals Committee of the Cyprus Football Association (CFA) to overturn life bans for Odera Peter Ofornadu and Kypros Onisiforou.
Both players had been sanctioned by the CFA Disciplinary Committee because of alleged involvement in match-fixing. In July, the CFA banned Ofornadu and Onisiforou from all football activities and handed them a 32,000 euro fine after their PAEEK team suffered a 4-1 loss against Anorthosis Famagusta in the CFA Cup on 26 October 2022.
A few days after that match, the CFA had received a report from UEFA saying that according to Sportradar, there seemed to be suspicious betting on the number of goals scored in the match. The report said that one of the clubs was involved in match-fixing and mentioned five players as “persons of interest” because of their playing behaviour.
The CFA transferred the information to the Ethics and Sports Protection Committee, a national body that investigates manipulation in sports. Based on match footage, this body concluded that both players had intended to manipulate the match. Their investigating officer found that one of the players acted suspiciously in three different actions; the other player had four suspicious acts.
“But the same investigator also mentioned that he did not find any proof that the players received any financial or other benefit,” union lawyer Loizos Hadjidemetriou told FIFPRO.
However, the CFA decided to start disciplinary proceedings that resulted in life bans and fines for Ofornadu and Onisiforou. The players immediately contacted player union PASP for support. “They had only three days to file an appeal, which we managed to do in time,” said Hadjidemetriou, who handled the case.
Hadjidemetriou continued: “One of the players, Peter Ofornadu, was completely caught by surprise. The CFA had only informed his club about the disciplinary proceedings against him, but the club had never told him. And to make matters worse, it concerned the first match he played as a professional footballer. He was still only 19-years-old.”
Last week, the CFA Appeals Committee accepted the players’ appeal, lifted the life bans, and cancelled their fines. “You can imagine how happy and relieved the players were,” Hadjidemetriou said. “They believed that their careers were over.”
Pancyprian Footballers Association
• Division: Europe
• Established: 1987
• FIFPRO Member since: 2005
• Website: pasp.org.cy
The players and the union have not yet received the full reasoning of the Appeals Committee, so Hadjidemetriou cannot yet make a full analysis of this historic decision. But he noticed that the Appeals Committee was very critical about the CFA not informing one player, and the CFA not performing any investigation itself to find proof for the players’ involvement in manipulating the match.
“Undoubtedly, this decision established that it is neither right nor proper, without even a hearing, for a footballer to be subjected to the most drastic and severe penalty in the regulations: a lifetime ban from exercising his constitutional right to work,” said Hadjidemetriou.
“This decision creates conditions of justice in the field of Cypriot football and sends the message that in judicial cases, especially those of such particular importance which affect both a player's football career and his life, all legal procedures must be followed.”