Apollon awarded win by Cyprus FA due to ineligible player
NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Apollon Limassol got a three-point boost Monday when the Cyprus Football Association overturned a 1-0 loss to Anorthosis Famagusta earlier this month following a ruling that Anorthosis’ goalkeeper was ineligible to play in the match.
In a 17-page ruling, the FA’s sports adjudicator ruled that Nigerian goalkeeper Francis Odinaka Uzoho played on Feb. 2 with an invalid health certificate and awarded Apollon the win while docking Anorthosis six points.
Uzoho was handed a one-match suspension and a fine of 1,000 euros ($1,130). The Cyprus Sports Organization had initially declared Uzoho’s health certificate void as of Feb. 9, but in a follow-up decision Monday annulled it altogether, saying that it considered the document “as never having been issued.”
The matter, which rankled Cyprus’ fervent soccer fans for nearly two weeks, was raised after Apollon alleged Uzoho’s health certificate may have been obtained using forged medical documents.
Apollon said the health certificate had been issued hours before Uzoho arrived in Cyprus, meaning he hadn’t even undergone the necessary medical exams for the document to be valid. Uzoho joined Anorthosis on loan from Spanish club Deportivo La Coruna on Jan. 31.
The decision will not go into effect for eight days but means that Apollon could move to first place in the Cyprus First Division with a win or draw against APOEL, which leads the table, on Sunday.
A police investigation is currently underway. Last week, a Cyprus court ordered a 42-year-old man to be held in police custody for three days, but he was released without investigators seeking to extend his detention.