Brazil's Paquetá Brings Spot-Fixing Scandal To Premier League

August 22, 2023
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Brazil appears to be exporting an escalating betting scandal internationally, with West Ham midfielder Lucas Paquetá now suspected of an intentional yellow card in a Premier League match last season.

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Brazil appears to be exporting an escalating betting scandal internationally, with West Ham midfielder Lucas Paquetá now suspected of an intentional yellow card in a Premier League match last season.

News of the investigation into suspicious betting patterns broke just before the weekend as a potential £85m transfer of the Brazilian international to champions Manchester City was placed on hold.

Suspicions first arose around Paquetá when Betway, West Ham’s front-of-shirt sponsor, reported suspicious activity after a flurry of bets on a yellow card he received in a Premier League match against Aston Villa on March 12.

The English Football Association (FA) is investigating the matter, with the bets having reportedly been traced back to Paquetá’s hometown of Ilha de Paquetá near Rio de Janeiro.

The development comes as Brazilian prosecutors and lawmakers continue their investigations into a wider series of spot-fixing allegations involving numerous players and teams in Brazil's domestic league.

The rapporteur of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies’ parliamentary investigation into match-fixing (CPI), Felipe Carreras, has already requested that Paquetá be summoned to testify before the congressional panel. That request will be voted on as soon as today (August 22).

Although Paquetá does not play in Brazil, he was a member of the national squad for last year's FIFA World Cup in Qatar. He has now been removed from the roster for the national team’s next World Cup qualifying matches in September.

The CPI in Brazil's Congress has just voted in favour of a 60-day extension to its inquiry, putting its close at the end of November. It is a move of significance for those who suspect that sports betting will not be regulated in Brazil until the CPI concludes, despite the Brazilian federal government filing two pieces of emergency legislation before Congress in July.

Some members of the Chamber of Deputies are advocating for the formal urgency status to be removed from one of the bills in order to eliminate a requirement for the measure to be voted on within a maximum of just 45 days, or potentially before the CPI finishes its inquiry, according to reliable sources.

Paquetá’s alleged conduct mirrors others to have been cited as part of Brazil's betting scandal. Another player, Luiz Henrique of Real Betis, is also under scrutiny having received a yellow card the same day as the West Ham star. A further Brazilian player in Major League Soccer has been suspended by the Colorado Rapids for the same allegation.

The supposed spot-fixing in Brazil involved two or more alike scenarios (or mixed bets), as betting on a sequence of events yields a greater reward than just one as they are less likely to happen. No betting companies are alleged to have profited from or been involved in any of the alleged betting corruption, as things stand.

Paquetá was meant to answer questions before the FA on Monday (August 21), but the planned interview has been delayed indefinitely at the request of West Ham, whose executives are said to want more time to prepare.

Paquetá still played for West Ham this past weekend against Chelsea, scoring an injury-time penalty to secure a 3-1 victory for his team.

Additional reporting by James Kilsby.

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