UEFA gives Malta player life ban for match-fixing
GENEVA (AP) — UEFA banned Malta international Kevin Sammut from football for life on Monday after finding him guilty of helping fix a European Championship qualifying match in a betting scam.
UEFA said its appeals panel upheld the governing body's own request to increase Sammut's 10-year ban to a lifetime sanction.
Sammut denies colluding with a Croatian-led match-fixing syndicate in June 2007 to help manipulate Malta's 4-0 loss in Norway in a Euro 2008 qualifier.
His lawyer, Michael Sciriha, said the former Maltese player of the year could appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport after UEFA provides the detailed verdict.
"We have to wait for the reasoned decision, then we will make a decision," Sciriha told The Associated Press by telephone. "We are very disappointed that after a six, seven hours hearing, they (the appeal panel) came to a decision after 15 minutes."
The appeal hearing last Friday was required after both sides challenged the 10-year ban imposed on Sammut by UEFA's disciplinary panel in August.
The 31-year-old midfielder sought to clear his name. UEFA requested a lifetime ban to prevent him ever coaching or working in the game, and will ask FIFA to extend his punishment worldwide.
UEFA has not specified how it believes Sammut — who was substituted at halftime when the score was 1-0 — actively helped corrupt the match in Oslo, nor what evidence it used to convict him.
UEFA said Monday that it could not provide details of the case, in part "because the written grounds for the decision have not been sent to the player yet."
In August, Malta Football Association President Norman Darmanin Demajo said there was "overwhelming evidence" of a fix connecting players to an organized crime gang.
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