Brasileirão 2022 Série B matches are being investigated for alleged match-fixing
One of the games investigated by the authorities. Photo: Ronald Felipe/Disclosure/Sampaio Corrêa

Some games in the 2022 edition of Série B of the Brazilian Championship are being investigated due to the alleged involvement of a criminal group specializing in match-fixing.

The case is being investigated by the Public Ministry of Goiás (MPGO) in Operation Maximum Penalty, which was launched on Tuesday, the 14th, by the Special Action Group to Combat Organized Crime (Gaeco), by the Coordination of Institutional Security and Intelligence (CSI) and by the Special Action Group on Major Football Events (GFUT).

The MPGO prosecutor, Fernando Martins Cesconetto, declared that a businessman, through his company, contacted athletes so that they could carry out actions in the clashes in order to reach the bet made by the group on online platforms.

In the case being investigated, the combined bet would be a penalty kick in the first stage of the matches between Vila Nova x Sport, Criciúma x Tombense and Sampaio Corrêa x Londrina, all for the 38th round of Série B of the Brasileirão.

“The bettors offered BRL 150,000 for athletes to carry out specific actions in the games. Before the game, R$ 10,000 was paid as a sign of the agreement and, if the act took place, another R$ 140,000 at the end of the game. The final profit of the bettors would be around R$ 500,000 to R$ 1 million with the bet made”, said the prosecutor.

However, the bet was not successful, since in the game between Vila Nova x Sport there was no penalty in the first half. “There was a payment of R$ 10,000, but there was no penalty. In this way, the bets did not make a profit and began to pressure the player to not only return the amount received for the sign of the agreement, but also to reimburse the loss they had”, added Cesconetto.

The estimated loss of bettors is R$ 2 million. In the matches between Criciúma x Tombense and Sampaio Corrêa x Londrina, there was a penalty. In the clash between Criciúma and Tombense, the penalty was scored in the 30th minute of the first stage.

The Tigre player wasted the kick, however, the Santa Catarina team won by 2-0. In the other match, Sampaio Corrêa overcame Londrina by 2-1 after goalkeeper Luiz Daniel saved the penalty charged by Caprini.

Outcomes of earnings manipulation investigations

According to the prosecutor, the case reached the Public Prosecutor’s Office following a complaint made by Vila Nova. Cesconetto stressed that there is still no evidence of participation by leaders of teams and sports organizations. For now, there is no mention of requesting the annulment of the games or the competition.

A temporary arrest warrant and nine search and seizure warrants were served in Goiânia (GO), São João del-Rei (MG), Cuiabá (MT), São Paulo (SP), São Bernardo do Campo (SP) and Porciúncula (RJ).

Those investigated will respond for crimes of criminal association, money laundering and for giving or promising a patrimonial or non-patrimonial advantage with the purpose of modifying or manipulating the result of a sports competition, according to the Fan Statute.

Throughout the investigations, the authorities found new evidence that point out that the group continued to perform in competitions this year.