West Ham's Lucas Paqueta in Betting Scandal: FA Charges Midfielder Over Yellow Card Manipulation Allegations

Discover the full story behind the FA's charges against West Ham's Lucas Paqueta, accused of intentionally receiving yellow cards to influence the betting market. Read about the matches under scrutiny, the investigation's origins, and the impact on his career.

May 23, 2024 - 23:02
May 24, 2024 - 14:05
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West Ham's Lucas Paqueta in Betting Scandal: FA Charges Midfielder Over Yellow Card Manipulation Allegations
West Ham player, Lucas Paqueta

West Ham midfielder Lucas Paqueta finds himself at the center of a major controversy as the Football Association (FA) has charged him with intentionally seeking to receive yellow cards to manipulate the betting market. The Brazil international is accused of attempting to influence the outcomes of matches to benefit from betting patterns, an allegation he vehemently denies.

Allegations and Charges

The FA's investigation was prompted by unusual betting patterns, particularly surrounding an injury-time booking Paqueta received during West Ham's draw with Bournemouth last August. This led to suspicions that the midfielder was intentionally seeking yellow cards for the improper purpose of affecting the betting market.

A statement from the FA outlined the severity of the charges: "It's alleged that he directly sought to influence the progress, conduct, or any other aspect of, or occurrence in these matches by intentionally seeking to receive a card from the referee for the improper purpose of affecting the betting market in order for one or more persons to profit from betting." In addition to these serious allegations, Paqueta faces two breaches of FA Rule F3, related to failing to comply with requests for information and documents under FA Rule F2. Paqueta has until June 3 to respond to these charges, though he may request an extension.

Matches Under Scrutiny

The FA's investigation covers several matches, including:

  • Leicester City (November 2022): The details of Paqueta's conduct in this match have yet to be fully disclosed.
  • Aston Villa (March 2023): Paqueta received a yellow card in the 70th minute for a challenge on John McGinn, a booking that coincided with a surge of betting activity in Brazil.
  • Leeds United (May 2023): Booked in the 65th minute by referee Peter Bankes for a late tackle on Crysensio Summerville.
  • Bournemouth (August 2023): Paqueta was shown a yellow card after 93 minutes, an event that triggered the FA's investigation due to suspicious betting patterns.

The bets in question were placed from accounts registered in Paqueta, an island off Rio de Janeiro, though it has been established that Paqueta himself did not place these bets.

Background and Impact

Paqueta has consistently denied any wrongdoing.  

The midfielder denied the allegations in a statement on X, writing: "I am extremely surprised and upset that The FA has decided to charge me. "For nine months, I have co-operated with every step of their investigation and provided all the information I can. "I deny the charges in their entirety and will fight with every breath to clear my name. Due to the ongoing process, I will not be providing any further comment."

Despite the ongoing investigation, he has been called up by Brazil manager Dorival Junior for the Copa America this summer. This call-up underscores Paqueta's importance to the national team, even amid controversy. The allegations had immediate consequences for Paqueta's career. Last summer, Manchester City had agreed in principle to an £80 million deal to sign him from West Ham. However, the deal fell through when West Ham were informed of the FA's investigation into Paqueta's alleged betting breaches.

The FA's investigation began when the International Betting Integrity Association reported a spike in bets on Paqueta receiving a yellow card in West Ham's home game against Aston Villa on March 12. Paqueta was booked nine times for club and country last season and has already accumulated 15 yellow cards in 45 games for West Ham and Brazil this campaign. 

West Ham pledged to stand by their player.

"The club acknowledges receipt of the FA charge received by Lucas Paqueta for alleged breaches of their rules," a spokesperson said.

"Lucas categorically denies the breach and will continue to robustly defend his position.

"The club will continue to stand by and support the player throughout the process and will make no further comment until the matter is concluded."

Next Steps

As the investigation continues, the football world watches closely. Paqueta's response to the charges, due by June 3, will be critical in determining the next steps in this high-profile case. The FA will be looking for a comprehensive explanation from Paqueta and his legal team regarding the allegations.  We have had cases involving betting with Sandro Tonali at Newcastle and Ivan Toney at Brentford in terms of them betting on the outcome of matches, but this allegedly manipulating moments in matches, it's all about how much you can trust what you are eventually seeing.

Often these cases come to light because suspicious betting patterns are flagged up to the betting companies by particular firms and they feed their way into the FA, which leads to the cases being pursued.

The outcome of this case could have far-reaching implications, not only for Paqueta's career but also for the integrity of football betting markets worldwide. The football community, including fans, players, and officials, awaits further developments in this unfolding story.

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