Club silent about rigging allegation

Panionios soccer club declined to comment yesterday on a claim by a German soccer referee that its UEFA Cup win over Georgia’s Dynamo Tbilisi on December 1 was fixed. «There isn’t any specific position by the club regarding this issue,» said Panionios press officer Manolis Panayiotopoulos. He did not elaborate. In the match, the Greek first division club trailed 1-0 at halftime but then went on to score five second-half goals – two of them in injury time. The game ended 5-2. European soccer’s governing body, UEFA, said at the time it was considering an investigation, based on suspicious betting patterns predicting that Dynamo would lead at halftime, and that Panionios would win 5-2. On Saturday, German authorities arrested referee Robert Hoyzer, a chief witness in Germany’s match-fixing scandal, and charged him with eight counts of fraud. Hoyzer – who did not referee the Panionios game – has reportedly claimed the match was one of many allegedly fixed by three Croats. Before the December 1 fixture, Dynamo was already out of contention for a berth in the next round. Although the win kept Panionios’s hopes alive, the Greek team failed to reach the knockout phase after losing to French club Sochaux on December 16. Greek sports magazine Ethnospor said yesterday that UEFA would send two officials to Athens to investigate these latest claims. (AP)

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