Match-fixing: Romário breaks silence and talks about participating in a betting scheme
Match-fixing: Romário breaks silence and talks about participating in a betting scheme

Player Romário, appointed by the Public Ministry (MP-GO) as one of those involved in the match-fixing in Serie B, broke his silence in an interview this Monday, 6th. made a mistake in accepting cash and participating in the betting scheme.

Romário denies having agreed to commit a deliberate penalty in the Vila Nova x Sport game and claims that, at the time, he was no longer registered in the competition after a failed negotiation with the United Arab Emirates.

However, he admitted to having passed on the contact of another player, Gabriel Domingos, to the alleged recruiter Bruno Lopez de Moura, a businessman arrested in the “Maximum Penalty” operation, which investigates match-fixing in Série B. Moura was released after a habeas corpus .

“My mistake was having accepted their money. I kept telling them that I wouldn’t do it, because I couldn’t play. They kept insisting and told me to pass on contacts of other Vila players. That was my participation”, said the player.

Unlike the MP-GO statement, Romário argues that Domingos not only made his account available for bank transactions, but was also aware of the match-fixing scheme conducted by Bruno Lopez de Moura.

“I did not receive R$10,000. He (Bruno) anticipated R$10,000, but R$5,000 was left for me and R$5,000 went to Domingos”, he added.

According to the investigation carried out by MP-GO, Bruno persuaded players to manipulate the results of matches through tactics such as committing penalties during the first half of games.

As a reward, athletes would receive a fraction of the betting prizes. Each individual involved in the match-fixing scheme would be paid BRL 150,000 per bet.

Check out the full interview on match fixing with Romário

What was your participation in the match-fixing scheme?

– My mistake was taking their money. I told them all the time that I wouldn’t do it, because I couldn’t play. I had gone to the Emirates and when I came back the window was closed. I told them that. They kept insisting and told me to pass on contacts of other Vila players. That was my share.

How did they get to you?

– I had a partner, from São Paulo, that I bought clothes from him. This partner knew Bruno. Bruno came to me through him. One day he called me at night talking about it (committing a penalty). I said I wouldn’t. The other day, Bruno showed up. I passed the number of another player from Vila, who was Domingos. I don’t know what the two talked about. I received a part just for passing the contact to him.

Was the down payment of R$10,000 just for passing on the contact?

– Yes, but I didn’t receive R$ 10 thousand. I received BRL 5 thousand. He (Bruno) anticipated R$ 10 thousand. R$5,000 was for me and R$5,000 for Domingos.

Didn’t he then just lend the account?

– No, he was already aware.

Why didn’t Vila Nova fired him?

– I don’t know. I don’t know if Hugo (president) knows this story.

Did you agree to do the penalty?

– No. Never.

Did they explained to you how the scheme worked?

– Yes, he (Bruno) even showed me videos of other athletes doing it. But at no time did I agree to do this. I always said I wouldn’t do it, so much so that I couldn’t play. They already knew I couldn’t play. My mistake was passing on Vila player contact information to him.

Why did you passed on Domingos’ contact?

– I passed several. It wasn’t just Domingos. But he (Bruno) went straight to Domingos.

In an app conversation with the president of Vila, he asks you “how did you get into this?” How it was?

– It was at the time that I ended up giving the number. It shouldn’t have passed. But I was already quite angry and ended up passing. But at no time did I want to harm the team.

Do you think you can do a penalty without looking like it was on purpose?

– I think it does. But it depends on the character of the person.

Have you ever did a penalty on purpose?

– No..

Never got a yellow card on purpose?

– No, never.

A corner?

– Neither.

Never participated in a match-fixing scheme?


Did Domingos agreed to participate?

– I did not have access to his conversations with Bruno. I had a video call with both of them, but I just listened. Never the conversations.

Did you try to convince Domingos to do the penalty?

– No. I tried to convince other players when Domingos said he wasn’t going to do more. Because I kept receiving threats from Bruno. He kept saying that if the penalty didn’t happen he would do something and end my career. Then I tried to convince other players, but I never wanted to harm the team.

What did you had to do?

– I had to give a number, and he (Bruno) would convince the person.

Did you speak to the board?

– Yes, I got to tell Hugo by phone what was happening. He called me, I was already on vacation and I talked to him. I told how it happened.

If you had gone to the game, would you have did the penalty?

– I don’t think so. From the history I have in Vila, I don’t think I would. I was just pissed off at the time because I wasn’t playing, but I don’t think I would have taken it.

Was it the first time a gambler came to you?

– Yes..

What do you think of this relationship: football x betting?

– That never worked out. It will never work it out.

Do you place sports bets?

– I do a lot. But only team from abroad, from Spain. I never participated in any kind of scheme.

Do you bet on corners, penalties?

– No. Only on the teams, in who will win.

What did the punter promised you?

– At first, he talked to me without knowing that I couldn’t play. He said he would send R$10,000 down payment and then pay R$140,000. In all, it was R$ 150 thousand.

Is that where you were tempted to participate?

– No. I already said I wouldn’t do it. He proposed, but I said no. Then it increased, jumped to R$ 200 thousand. I kept saying I wouldn’t do it. That’s when he asked for the contact of a Vila player and I sent it to him.

Were you in need of money?

– No. I never had this kind of problem. I’ve never been through such difficulties. Never enought, to do things like that.

Did Domingos gave you the money?

– Yes. And I passed the signal back to Bruno. I had already spent it, but I sent some messages, collected some money and returned it to Bruno. But then he kept making threats for the amount he lost on the bet. He says he would make millions. The amount he was charging me was R$500,000, which he used in the bet.

How are you, today?

– I’m scared of something happening to my family. My mother and wife are scared. We just stayed indoors. I am not doing anything, not playing. I’m in agony, staying only indoors.

What are you afraid of?

– Of coming after my family. Him, Bruno.

Are the people involved dangerous?

– That gambler (Bruno), yes.

Did they made any threats? Which?

– Yes. They said that if the penalty didn’t happen, they would come to collect. After the game was over, they kept saying that they would send people here in Goiânia to do something with me. I had to go inland for that.

After he was arrested and released, did Bruno came after you?

– No. After that, he disappeared.

Do you want to play football again?

– Yes. I hope to be found innocent. I have nothing to do. There are conversations proving that at all times I told them that I would not do it. So much so that the penalty did not even happen. Players who would have done (Joseph and Matheusinho) are playing, and I’m stopped. It all came down on me. I was considered the bet guy, but I have nothing to do with it.

And who does?

-The punter

Who else?

– He showed a lot of videos of the guys doing it for him, but that day he only talked about the Vila game. He didn’t talk about other games.

For the scheme to work, it depended on two other games. Have you spoken to the other players involved?

– No. I didn’t even know they were involved. Bruno only talked about the penalty in the Vila game. Of the others, he did not speak.

Then you went to Goiânia. How was there?

– It was quiet. The guys welcomed me. They already knew what was going on. I spoke to the president, but he chose to hire me. I was praised by them. Every game was praised for my character and my everyday life.

Why did you leave Goiânia?

– Because I received a better proposal (Athletic-MG) for me and my family. I talked to them after the game against Anápolis. They said they would release me.

Do you think this story could end your career?

– I don’t think so. I’m still young. I can come back after what the judge decrees, whether I’m going to get punished or not. I don’t think I get punished. And I must continue my career.

Where? Do you have any proposals?

– Out of Brazil. Yes, from a team from Portugal. What I want today is to leave Brazil.

Do you have any regrets?

– Yes, a lot. I was supposed to be in Vila to this day.