Man City Deal of £80M Derailed by Paqueta Gambling Investigation


Posted on: August 22, 2023, 06:35h. 

Last updated on: August 22, 2023, 06:35h.

Manchester City, the reigning English Premier League champions, have withdrawn their interest in signing West Ham midfielder Lucas Paqueta for a reported £80 million. This decision comes after news broke that the 25-year-old Brazilian is under investigation by the Football Association (FA) for alleged betting breaches.

Paqueta, betting, Man City, West Ham
Lucas Paqueta, above, in his Betway-sponsored West Ham jersey. FA investigators are looking into suspicious bets made on the Betway platform in Brazil. (Image: Sky Sports)

Manchester City and West Ham had reached an agreement on the transfer before the investigation became public.

The FA, as the governing body of English soccer, is currently examining a yellow card that Paqueta received for a late challenge on Aston Villa’s John Mcguin on March 12.

A significant number of bets were placed on Paqueta receiving a booking in the match, which ended in a 1-1 draw. These suspicious bets were reported to the International Betting Integrity Association, who subsequently alerted FIFA and the FA.

Brazilian Betting Connection

It is believed that some of the bets were placed in Duque de Caxias, a city located on Brazil’s Guanabara Bay. Paqueta, who was born and raised on the nearby Paqueta Island, decided to adopt the name as a tribute to his birthplace. What is particularly interesting about the suspicious bets is that some were made on Betway, West Ham’s jersey sponsor, which is not commonly used in Brazil.

It is important to note that Paqueta himself has not been accused of placing any of these bets. He has expressed surprise and denied any involvement in the situation. However, individuals close to him are currently under investigation.

If Paqueta is found guilty of betting violations (although there is currently no indication that he will be), he could face a significant ban from English soccer, which would ultimately impact his market value.

Previous Cases

In a similar incident, Brentford and England striker Ivan Toney received an eight-month ban from the sport after admitting to 232 breaches of FA betting rules.

The FA strictly prohibits players from betting on any soccer game worldwide. Toney was found to have placed numerous bets on matches he was not involved in, as well as 16 bets on games he was playing. In all cases, Toney backed his team to win, and there was no evidence of match-fixing according to the FA’s findings.

However, the implications in the Paqueta case suggest that the FA is investigating potential spot-fixing. This refers to the manipulation of specific elements within a game, such as the number of cards or corners, as opposed to the overall result.

Spot-fixing is relatively rare in elite soccer due to the high salaries earned by players, which reduces the financial incentive for corruption.

A conviction for spot-fixing could result in a lifelong ban from the sport issued by the FA.

Previous Incident Resolved

Granit Xahka, who currently plays for Bayer Leverkusen, was previously under investigation for a yellow card he received while playing for Arsenal against Leeds in December 2021. Xahka inexplicably wasted time before taking a free kick in the 85th minute, despite Arsenal holding a comfortable 4-1 lead.

A surge of large bets on Xahka receiving a booking in the final ten minutes of the match prompted investigations from the FA, Gambling Commission, and the UK’s National Crime Agency.

After sixteen months of scrutiny, all three organizations concluded that there was no case against the player.

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