MFA President Norman Darmanin Demajo said the Control and Disciplinary Body is expected to take a decision over the alleged match fixing in the EURO 2008 qualifier between Norway and Malta, which was played in Oslo in June 2007, by the end of the season. Darmanin explained the latest developments in the case while speaking during a press conference at the Centenary Hall, Ta’ Qali on Wednesday.
The case saw its beginning in May 2011 when during a trial on match fixing regarding around forty matches which was held in Bochum, Germany against Ante Sapina, Marijo Cvrtak and Dragan Mihelic, the EURO 2008 qualifier between Norway and Malta was mentioned with Marijo Cvrtak reportedly saying that he had travelled to the hotel where the Maltese squad was staying and met at least three players.
Norman Darmanin Demajo said that at the time, the association had contacted the Police and UEFA but the fact that the game was played four years before and that it was played in Norway, there were problems with regards to who had the jurisdiction.
The MFA President said that during a UEFA meeting for Integrity Officers in September, the MFA Integrity Officer Franz Tabone established contacts thanks to which the association obtained the transcripts, in German, of the evidence given in the Bochum trial by Ante Sapina and Marijo Cvrtak. The information was forwarded to the Police who started investigation.
The association started another investigation during which the MFA Prosecutor Dr Adrian Camilleri, assisted by the MFA Integrity Officer, interviewed the twenty-three players and officials who were involved in that game and other persons who may have had any information about the case. The investigation took three months to complete and a dossier of around 500 pages was prepared.
Darmanin Demajo said that following talks with top UEFA officials towards the end of 2011, the latter demanded the documents to be forwarded to the European body since the game Norway vs Malta fell under their jurisdiction since the EURO 2008 was a competition organised by UEFA.
The MFA President said the association found full co-operation from UEFA and German Police about the case and recently had the opportunity to be present for interviews with people involved in match fixing. This was described as a breakthrough in the case.
UEFA will now appoint a Disciplinary Commissioner who will decide on the evidence present in the dossier and the end-of-the-season has been earmarked as a possible date for the publishing of the final decisions.
MFA Chief Executive Officer Bjorn Vassallo revealed that although four players were mentioned, only one was mentioned by name in the transcript. However there may have been mistakes which were later ratified thanks to the photo identification.
The MFA President said that hopefully something positive will emerge from this case and that all understand that sports is based on integrity and whoever gets involved such cases will face harsh disciplinary actions.
Photo: Copyright © domenic aquilina/MFA