UEFA to take legal action over corruption claim
By iSportconnect | October 29, 2010
Associated Press: UEFA prepared to take legal action on Thursday against a former Cypriot Football Association official who alleged the 2012 European Championship was corruptly awarded to Poland and Ukraine.
UEFA confirmed it is acting against Spyros Marangos because he missed a Wednesday deadline to provide any evidence backing his claims.
Marangos told a German newspaper that UEFA officials sold the tournament rights for 11 million euros ($15 million) in 2007. The eastern European neighbors defeated pre-poll favorite Italy 8-4 in a vote of UEFA executive committee members.
UEFA, which says Marangos turned down repeated requests from the European football body to inspect his evidence, said it had not yet prepared to sue the newspaper.
Officials in Poland and Ukraine have denied Marangos’ claims, while football leaders in Cyprus and Italy also dismissed the allegations.
Italian Football Federation president Giancarlo Abete said it had full confidence in UEFA.
“Let’s hope this ugly case ends quickly,” said Abete, who has served on the executive committee since March 2009. “I’m certainly not able to prove his accusations and it’s fair that he be prosecuted for the doubts he raised.”
Italy also was represented on the UEFA executive committee at the time of the disputed decision, though official Franco Carraro was not allowed to vote under conflict of interest rules.
Despite Italy backing UEFA, an Italian government sports official called for a judicial investigation into the allegations.
Cabinet undersecretary and sports delegate Rocco Crimi said Thursday that legal authorities should intervene and that “if crimes emerge they should be prosecuted.”
Crimi added that Italy would be ready to host Euro 2012 if UEFA decides to move the tournament.
Marangos’ story was published days after The Sunday Times in London reported that the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process was mired in corruption.
FIFA’s Ethics Committee is investigating two voters, two bid candidates and four other officials over bribery, vote-selling and collusion.