John Textor Dono do Botafogo acusa atletas do São Paulo e do Fortaleza de manipulação; clubes negam
John Textor, dono da SAF do Botafogo. Foto: Vitor Silva / Botafogo

Botafogo owner John Textor once again sparked controversy in the world of football when he released a note on his official website accusing Palmeiras, suggesting that the team was favored in the last two seasons.

According to the owner of the black and white club’s SAF, experts and artificial intelligence would have pointed out manipulation with “100% certainty”. Textor mentioned two goals scored by the team led by Abel Ferreira in 2022 and 2023:

  • Beaten Fortaleza, 4-0, in 2022. At the time, Alviverde entered the field already Brazilian champions.
  • Beaten São Paulo, 5-0, in 2023. Tricolor Paulista entered the field after winning the Copa do Brasil, while Verdão sought to defeat then-leader Botafogo.

“Seven players (from São Paulo) showed abnormal deviations in crucial goal situations, but only five exceeded limits that make the manipulation clear and convincing. It must be made clear that the evidence does not establish motives, and also does not suggest that any club was responsible for the manipulation other than the identified players”, says Textor.

“The match-fix level II report, which proves, after completion of the match-fix level III, manipulation of the match in Palmeiras x São Paulo was sent to the STJD at the end of 2023, but the STJD had a clear decision not to investigate further bottom.

Names of the accused are, and should always be, omitted and not shown to the sports court. This evidence should only be presented to government prosecutors and investigators. I have no intention of harming the accused before they can protect themselves”, adds the Botafogo owner.

Clubs refute statements by John Textor, from Botafogo

John Textor’s speeches resulted in immediate demonstrations from the aforementioned clubs.

In a statement, São Paulo highlighted the ‘honesty of the institution in its 94 years of history’, as well as repudiating the “serious and unfounded accusations of participation of athletes from the tricolor squad in result manipulation made by the owner of SAF Botafogo. The club has already activated its legal department, which will study and take the appropriate legal measures.”

Fortaleza also assured that it will take legal action. “The statements, made without the presentation of any evidence, tarnish the reputation of our century-old institution and cause serious damage to the club’s image. Fortaleza will take all appropriate legal measures”, stated in an official statement.

Palmeiras, in turn, rejected John Textor’s accusations, with president Leila Pereira defining him as a ‘caricatured top hat’. “We trust that the competent authorities will take the necessary measures with the urgency that the issue demands”, he pointed out.

Previously, Textor had already mentioned alleged manipulation of results in last year’s Brasileirão. In an interview with Canal do Medeiros, on YouTube, the director highlighted that he would defend Botafogo’s interests.

However, nothing has been officially confirmed so far.

However, it is worth noting that the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) and several state federations have partnerships with companies specialized in monitoring and combating fraud in the sporting world to ensure fair play.