LAUSANNE: A Malta footballer accused of helping a Croat gang fix a European Championship qualifier has had his ban cut from life to 10 years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Michael Sciriha, the lawyer for Kevin Sammut, said his client had been partially successful in appealing his punishment by European federation UEFA.
“They have overturned the judgment from a life ban into a 10-year ban,” Sciriha said in a telephone interview with Associated Press.
Sammut had been punished for assisting a syndicate to manipulate Malta’s Euro 2008 qualifier in Norway in June 2007. Malta lost 4-0 after conceding three late goals.
UEFA originally banned Sammut for 10 years in August 2012 but its own appeals panel increased that to life based on evidence from convicted fixers Ante Sapina and Marijo Cvrtak.
Both men had been serving five-year prison terms for matchfixing which were subsequently reduced by a court in Germany in April by six months for co-operating with authorities.
Cvrtak claimed at his initial trial at Bochum, Germany, that he met three Malta players in their Oslo hotel who would arrange the fix.
Sammut, a midfielder who was substituted at halftime when the score was 1-0, denied involvement.
UEFA found him guilty but cleared his teammates, Kenneth Scicluna and Stephen Wellman, who both played the full 90 minutes.
Sammut’s ban runs from August 2012, when a UEFA disciplinary panel first judged the case. He was voted Malta’s Player of the Year in 2007.
At the time the Malta FA president Norman Darmanin Demajo had said there was “overwhelming evidence” of a fix connecting players to organised crime.