UEFA slaps Malta international Kevin Sammut with 10-year-ban

Update 2 | UEFA disciplinary board hands down 10-year-ban to Malta international Kevin Sammut 'il-Viper' for match fixing in EURO 2008 qualifier between Norway and Malta.

Guilty of match fixing: Kevin Sammut 'il-Viper' has been given a 10-year suspension.
Guilty of match fixing: Kevin Sammut 'il-Viper' has been given a 10-year suspension.

Malta international and Valletta FC Kevin Sammut, known also as 'Il-Viper' has been handed a 10-year world-wide ban on football after a UEFA judicial board found him guilty of match-fixing during an international qualifier between Malta and Norway.

Two other players, also summoned for the hearings at UEFA's headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, were Kenneth Scicluna and Stephen Wellman, who were acquitted of charges due to lack of evidence.

All three Maltese players who were charged by the European football's governing body were present for the hearing. 

In a joint statement issued tonight by UEFA and the Malta Football Association, it was said that:

The Control & Disciplinary Body decided:

 1.      The player Kevin Sammut is banned from any football related activity for ten (10) years.

2.       FIFA will be requested to extend this ban, so as to give it a worldwide effect.

3.      The findings of the disciplinary Inspector are insufficient to take disciplinary action against the following players: Kenneth Scicluna and Stephen Wellman. 

The president of the Malta Football Association (MFA), Norman Darmanin Demajo had refused to reveal the names of the Malta national players charged by UEFA's disciplinary inspectors in connection with match-fixing allegations surrounding the Euro 2008 qualifier between Norway and Malta.

News that Valletta FC midfielder Kevin Sammut was one of the three players being charged was met with a wall of silence by sports broadcasters and journalists, after MaltaToday broke the news in June.

Darmanin Demajo insisted the MFA's sole role was to assist in the investigations being carried out by the Police and UEFA, when asked why the association was not informing the public of the identities of the three footballers.

Speaking to MaltaToday, veteran sports journalist George Micallef had explained that the reason behind MFA's wall of silence could be because the charges have not been formally issued by the police, but only by UEFA. "When similar cases happened in the Italian football league, the names had been revealed by their police because the police were investigating. In our case, we have two separate investigations going on, while the MFA is passing all its information to the two sides," Micallef said.

He added that the Police's investigation might not be advanced to the point that would allow the MFA to publish the names of the footballers.

The Maltese police had started investigating allegations of a fixed match between Norway and Malta last year, when the claims first surfaced during a match-fixing trial in Germany.

Croat Marijo Cvrtak, a convicted member of a notorious Croatian betting syndicate, had identified the Euro 2008 qualifier between Malta and Norway as one of the rigged matches. The match had ended with Malta being beaten by Norway 4-0 in Oslo.

The MFA had also carried out a three-month inquiry, during which more than 30 persons were interviewed. The investigation was detailed in a 500-page dossier that has been passed on to UEFA in March.

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Note to the editor: Your head-line is a grammatical nonsense. It should read "uefa SLAPS 10 year ban...". "Uefa SLAMS 10 year ban" means that uefa OBJECT to the 10 year ban imposed on Kevin Sammut.