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Greece face EURO2004 bribery accusations


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UEFA calls for report into bribery allegations

NYON, Switzerland, Sept 8 (Reuters) - UEFA has called for a special report into bribery allegations surrounding Saturday's Armenia-Greece European championship qualifier.

Mike Lee, UEFA's director of communications, told Reuters on Monday: "We have asked the match delegate for a supplementary report, although at this stage there is no formal investigation into the matter.

"We will have the report in the next 24 hours and will decide what action to take next based on what is in the report from the match delegate."

Greece have denied any suggestion that they offered to bribe Armenia to lose the Group Six game, which Greece won 1-0 to move within striking distance of automatic qualification for next year's finals in Portugal.

"It seems the performances of the national squad have caused problems to many who didn't expect it," the Greek FA said in a statement. "Greece played fair and won."

Lee said: "At this stage there has been no evidence submitted from the Armenian FA, and the Greek FA have stressed categorically that no such bribery took place.

"We are monitoring the situation because a serious allegation has been made in the media which could well be followed up by a formal approach in due course."

In the Armenian capital Yerevan, national soccer federation president Ruben Airapetyan said its officials were helping the investigation and it would make a statement after Armenia's match on Wednesday in Northern Ireland.

The Greeks were furious about the allegations.

"The Greek FA has asked UEFA to investigate this case in its totality and charge those responsible for damaging the name of our country and football association," it added.

The Greek FA also said it would file lawsuits against those responsible for "attempting to violently damage the effort of the national squad to qualify".

Armenia had no chance of qualification for Euro 2004 before the match against Greece. They are fourth in the group with four points from six matches.

The win over Armenia put Greece top of Group Six with 15 points, four in front of favourites Spain and five ahead of Ukraine.

Victory against bottom-placed Northern Ireland next month will take the Greeks to their second European Championship after their first appearance in 1980.

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