Dirigentes da CBF rebatem John Textor
Imagem: Agência Senado / Geraldo Mangela

Wilson Luiz Seneme, president of the Arbitration Commission of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF), completely disregarded the complaints made in Brazilian Championship matches about alleged fraud in the results.

During the CPI on the Manipulation of Games and Sports Betting, the leader was emphatic, according to him, the allegations made by John Textor, Botafogo’s main shareholder, are completely unfounded.

CBF criticizes the owner of Botafogo

“In terms of CBF, zero. I give it ‘zero percent’ possibility. With the experience I have, I have not seen or identified any action that could give the slightest reference and transform it into some type of result manipulation” , said Seneme.

“Arbitration errors occur. But turning an arbitration error into a complaint for result manipulation, in my view, is an irresponsible action”, he added.

Then, the president of the CPI, senator Jorge Kajuru (PSB-GO), reinforced his criticism of the North American businessman. “If he (John Textor) proves absolutely nothing, he has to be banned from Brazilian football and expelled from the country for all the mess he is creating.”

Thus, what would have happened, according to John Textor, was an alleged manipulation of images by the video assistant referee (VAR) during a game between the Rio de Janeiro club (Botafogo) against Palmeiras.

The CPI rapporteur, Senator Romário (PL-RJ), asked Wilson Seneme if the system used by the CBF is reliable. “VAR is not Brazil’s VAR. It is FIFA’s VAR”, he replied.

“The way VAR technology operates and how referees work is the same in China, Japan, England, Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. It is a unique standard”, added the president of the Arbitration Commission.

Senator Carlos Portinho (PL-RJ) displayed images published by John Textor on a social network during the meeting. The video refers to the match between Botafogo and Palmeiras that resulted in the expulsion of an athlete from the black and white club.

But, according to the owner of Botafogo, the VAR referees failed to show the field referee images that could have prevented the expulsion.

Does sports betting harm football?

However, for senator Eduardo Girão (Novo-CE), who presided over Fortaleza Esporte Clube in 2017, the actions of sports betting houses harm football. The parliamentarian criticized the sponsorship of betting companies in competitions promoted by the CBF.

“The conflict of interest for me is very clear. As a club president, I am strictly against it. I think we are killing the goose that lays the golden eggs in football. People don’t know if they are watching a real game or an arranged game. And the worst: many Brazilians [are] being in debt.”

The public hearing also included the participation of the CBF Director of Governance and Compliance, Hélio Santos Menezes Junior. According to Menezes, the entity took measures to prevent manipulation of results. This includes collaboration agreements between the CBF, the Federal Police and state and federal Public Prosecutor’s Offices.

After the public hearing, parliamentarians participated in a secret meeting. During the reserved part, CBF representatives would have presented details about the functioning of the VAR.