Brazil's Football Clubs Dealt Bad Hand On Match-Fixing, Revenue Shares

May 10, 2023
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Brazilian football clubs are not getting what they bargained for on sports betting amidst a tense climate, as Congress prepares to launch an investigation into match-fixing allegations.

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Brazilian football clubs are not getting what they bargained for on sports betting amidst a tense climate, as Congress prepares to launch an investigation into match-fixing allegations.

The clubs were originally granted 1.63 percent of gross gaming revenue (GGR) from online sports betting in the text of the 2018 law that authorised fixed-odds betting, but this law still awaits implementation via a so-called provisional measure emergency decree.

Last month, as it became clear the sports-betting provisional measure was imminent, the clubs asked for a seat at the negotiating table and a 5.01 percent slice of the action.

A coalition of eight Sao Paulo and Rio-based clubs — Botafogo, Corinthians, Flamengo, Fluminense, Palmeiras, Santos, São Paulo and Vasco da Gama — have reportedly been told by the Ministry of Finance that the government cannot afford to raise a planned effective tax rate any higher due to the risk of driving players offshore.

At the time that the clubs first raised their complaints, they said that if their demands were not met they would not allow the usage of their brands and copyrighted logos on sports-betting platforms.

The threat may or may not come to pass, as the government has reportedly left the clubs with the option of authorising the use of their logos and selling their statistical data to betting platforms for additional income.

Such data is usually sold by the applicable sports league, but given the strained relationship clubs have with the Brazilian Football Confederation, such an arrangement is doubtful.

It has also been reported that the named clubs are not interested in an even split of profits among football teams and would like to be given revenue that is proportional to the volume of bets placed on their matches.

The wait for the provisional measure on sports betting remains ongoing, even as congressional investigations into match-fixing heat up.

It has been confirmed in Brazilian outlet Metrópoles that a Parliamentary Investigation Committee (CPI) to probe recent allegations of match-fixing will start on March 16 and that federal deputy Felipe Carreras, a key figure on betting and gambling matters in the Chamber of Deputies, will be the rapporteur of the committee.

The CPI was requested by a petition that had more than 200 signatures, and was kickstarted by Goiás state prosecutors' Operation Maximum Penalty, which uncovered allegations of match-fixing in several first and second division games last year. Among other allegations, players were approached to purposefully be yellow- or red-carded, according to prosecutors.

Days ago the Public Ministry of Goiás filed a new complaint with the Ministry of Justice, presenting further details of the match-fixing, including new additions to the list of offenders.

The CPI comes as finance minister Fernando Haddad continues to promise that the long-awaited sports-betting provisional measure will be published any day.

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