Omonia and player prosecuted for hiding true earnings in false contract

POLICE have opened a criminal case against a popular football club, its chairman and a former player in connection with drafting a double contract to hide earnings, it emerged yesterday.

Reports said Attorney-general Petros Clerides has ordered police to prosecute 2011 cup winners Omonia, its chairman Miltiades Neophytou and former club striker Yiannakis Okkas, for drafting a double contract to hide the player’s real revenues.

It all started in 2009, after Okkas, who now plays for Anorthosis, had his contract terminated for misconduct.

Okkas appealed to a court, claiming double the money – around a million euros – than what was provided for in the contract filed with the Cyprus Football Federation.

Okkas had signed a four-year contract with Omonia in July 2008.

This raised red flags and although the case had been investigated last year, authorities apparently waited until now to file charges prompting Neophytou to wonder about the timing.

Neophytou denied any wrongdoing and suggested it was an effort to hurt the team at a time when it is going through a rough patch.

“Omonia did not do anything different from what other Cypriot clubs do,” Neophytou told a club general assembly. “It proves that some circles are trying to create problems.”

Neophytou said the club’s legal advisers said nothing improper had been done and urged supporters to rally in support of the team.

Omonia has been going through a turbulent period of late, with supporters blaming the club’s management for a series of wrong decisions that, among others, saw the Nicosia club relinquish the championship title to Nicosia archrivals APOEL.