According to Cypriot media, citing reliable information, big betting amounts were placed on the Eurobasket 2013 qualifying stage game between Croatia and Cyprus (1st round, August 18).
The amounts were placed on Croatia’s blowout win of over 50 points, as was the case (Croatia won the game easily 93-38). Although there is a chaotic difference of quality between the two teams, Croatia was leading by “just” 30 points after three qurters and made a 28-3 run in the last quarter to take the difference to 55 points.
Of course this could mean nothing at all or just that Cyprus NT uses its bench players or just lacks stamina to keep up the pace for the duration of the game. In fact, in the second round game Croatia ran a 33-2 run during the last quarter, but won with “just” 49 points, as they were leading 65-47 after three quarters.
It could merely mean the simplest thing: that not all countries have the capabilities of playing at a certain level and that throwing everyone in the same pot like FIBA Europe has done by merging Division A and Division B could actually hurt the game instead of helping it.
The bottom line is that the allegations and rumours are so strong that the Cyprus Basketball Federation is seriously considering to launch an official inquiry into the matter.
Cyprus National Team captain Panagiotis Trisokkas talked about the allegations in a radio talk show: “I think there were rumours about big amount of bets made for the first (round) game. The thing I want to clarify is that no player of the national team has made a bet on the game. That should be made very clear.” but did not dismiss the fact of bets being made nontheless: “We can’t ignore the fact that bets have been made on Cyprus national team games. No one can deny that.”
The Cypriot captain is confident that no one form the national team has dirt on their hands: “I categorically deny that any player of the national team has made a bet. In fact I challenge anyone to open all the banking acocunts of all players to check. I ask the Cyprus Basketball Federation to make an inquiry and if a player is found guilty to dismiss him from the team.”
TalkBasket contacted a bookmaker to ask if he had observed anything unusual about the game. Although the game spread (started at 24.5 and increased to 28.5) was significantly lower than the final spread, there were no major fluctuaitons and nothing seemed out of order.
We will keep you posted if there are any updates regarding this story.