Foto: Pedro França/Agência Senado

Last Wednesday (22), the CPI for the Manipulation of Sports Betting and Games heard the president of the Superior Court of Sports Justice for Football (STJD), José Perdiz de Jesus.

He spoke about the ongoing actions to combat the manipulation of match results. During the session, the president of the court emphasized that the STJD has been rigorous in punishing those involved in these cases. He highlighted that the issue of manipulations is currently the “most relevant” topic for football.

José Perdiz de Jesus stated: “The STJD, specifically in the case of Operation Maximum Penalty, may have been one of the collaborators who effectively punished those participants.

The legislation — which is absolutely good and applicable — allows those convicted or investigated to not face punishment, the so-called non-criminal prosecution, and to make agreements. At STJD, despite this possibility, the players involved were suspended.”

Photo: Pedro França/Agência Senado

He explained that they have not yet converted the punishments for athletes convicted of manipulation because they consider the moment “delicate”.

Most punishments, as he noted, have been determined based on the sharing of evidence from Operation Maximum Penalty, conducted by the Public Ministry of Goiás (MP-GO).

Difficulties faced in investigations

In the same session, the attorney general of the STJD, Ronaldo Botelho Piacente, spoke about the difficulties faced in the agency’s investigations, such as the impossibility of determining breaches of confidentiality.

He also mentioned that the International Football Federation (FIFA) recognized Brazil as the “most important country in the fight against match-fixing”.

Piacente commented on alleged allegations of game manipulation made by businessman John Textor, majority shareholder of Botafogo.

“When John Textor wants, based on this report, to say that there was manipulation of results, with all due respect, it is irresponsible. It is not possible, based on performance, to say that there is manipulation of results.

The manipulation of results must be accompanied by a betting game and must be accompanied by proof, as the Public Ministry of Goiás did, of a breach of banking secrecy that had the conversations and also based on the receipt of the money.”

Photo: Pedro França/Agência Senado

John Textor at CPI das Apostas

Textor was the first deponent heard by the CPI, on April 23, and secretly presented the report with alleged signs of manipulation to the senators.

The president of the CPI, senator Jorge Kajuru (PSB-GO), argued that it is necessary to recognize “in part” the validity of the questions raised by the businessman. However, he emphasized that if suspicions are not confirmed, there will be consequences.

Kajuru stated: “If he is wrong in everything, I have already said that, as president of the CPI, I will ask for his ban from Brazilian football, for him to leave Brazilian football.

He came here, made all this mess. If he doesn’t prove anything, this will be my sentence for him, banishment from Brazilian football.”

Photo: Pedro França/Agência Senado

São Paulo Games

At the meeting, the CPI also heard from the president of São Paulo Futebol Clube, Julio Casares. He denied having knowledge of proposals to manipulate game results. Casares called for “caution” in investigating possible cases and defended the creation of a football regulatory agency.

“I never heard reports about manipulation, except after the events in the media and what the Court determined, the correct punishments, but I never heard it within the scope of São Paulo Futebol Clube”, he claimed.

Julio Casares stated that the club took legal measures to demand the presentation of evidence related to the allegations made by Textor. One of the results questioned by Textor was a game in which São Paulo lost 5-0 to Palmeiras, on October 25 last year.

Casares stated: “Every complaint, whatever it may be, must undergo investigation, this is what is being done here. Whether it was bravado, playing in front of the fans or justifying the loss of a championship, he [Textor] chose, in my opinion, the wrong door.

They won’t play with São Paulo, they won’t play with a CPI, which is so serious, and they won’t play with public opinion.”

Former Brazilian national team player and senator, Romário said he did not identify “anything strange or different” in the defeat he suffered. Kajuru questioned his opinion on the moves that were questioned by the owner of Botafogo.

About the Betting CPI

The betting CPI went into operation on April 10th and is scheduled to operate until October 21st. Its main purpose is to investigate accusations and suspicions of match-fixing in the Brazilian football scene, with a special focus on the players involved.