Foto: Flickr / CBF

Lucas Paquetá, midfielder for the Brazilian national team, is under investigation by the English Federation (FA) for alleged violations of sports betting rules in the Premier League. In the midst of this, the president of the CBF, Ednaldo Rodrigues, made important statements about the athlete’s situation before the friendly against the United States.

Ednaldo Rodrigues emphasized that the CBF took the decision to call up Paquetá with criteria and legal support when asked about his call-up.

He mentioned that the CBF first sought to hear from its legal and compliance board, in addition to the confederation’s integrity unit. Ednaldo explained that there was a consultation with the English Federation to better understand the player’s situation.

“It was a very careful decision-making. The CBF first sought to hear from its legal and compliance board, in addition to the confederation’s integrity unit. We also consulted the English Federation, asking some very objective questions about the athlete’s situation,” he said.

The English Federation’s response was that there was no provision for immediate punishment for Paquetá, allowing him to remain in the national team without any problems.

“In response to the questions that the CBF asked, the English Federation responded that it had no provision for punishment. With this, the CBF understood that he could remain in the Brazilian team without any problems,” added the CBF president.

Photo: Flickr/ CBF

Defense of Lucas Paquetá and the accusations of the English Federation

Paquetá publicly defended himself against the accusations only once, on May 31st. He affirmed his cooperation with the investigations and expressed his desire to clarify everything as quickly as possible. The player declared his innocence and expressed his desire to help the Brazilian team.

“I was advised by my lawyers not to comment, but what I can say is that I continue to do my best and cooperate. We will do our best to make everything clear as quickly as possible. I want to make it clear that I remain prepared to be here at this moment,” said Paquetá.

The English Federation accuses Paquetá of violating two rules on sports betting in the Premier League. According to the investigation, the player had deliberately forced yellow cards in four different matches to benefit bettors.

“The player has been charged with four breaches of FA Rule E5.1 in relation to his conduct in the club’s Premier League games against Leicester City on 12 November 2022; Aston Villa on 12 March 2023; Leeds United on May 21, 2023; and AFC Bournemouth on August 12, 2023,” the FA said in a statement.

Additionally, Paquetá was accused of failing to comply with another rule that requires players to avoid any behavior that could be considered match-fixing.

“It is alleged that he sought to directly influence the progress, conduct or any other aspect or occurrence in these matches, intentionally seeking to receive a card from the referee with the improper purpose of affecting the betting market so that one or more people profit,” he detailed the FA.

Lucas Paquetá at the Brazilian National Team press conference – Photo: Rafael Ribeiro/CBF

Possible consequences and comparisons to previous cases

After formalizing the complaint, Paquetá has a specific period to present his defense to the English Federation. The final decision does not yet have a stipulated date. Even though the FA regulations do not specify a punishment for a case like this, the history of combating betting manipulation in English football indicates that, if convicted, Paquetá could face a severe punishment.

Two recent cases show how seriously the FA treats these situations. Brentford’s Ivan Toney was banned for eight months, while Newcastle’s Sandro Tonali received a ten-month suspension for his involvement in sports betting.

“The controversial Joey Barton was suspended for 18 months following an investigation that found 1,260 bets made by the Englishman between 2006 and 2016,” explained the FA.

The FA considers the accusations against Paquetá to be particularly serious, treating him as an active participant in the alleged manipulation, similar to the case of Bradley Wood, who was banned for six years in 2017 for forcing yellow cards.

“The most impactful case, however, was that of Kynan Isaac, who received a full 12-year suspension in 2022 after deliberately receiving a yellow card in an FA Cup match,” the FA reported.

Isaac not only forced cards, but also made another 347 bets, which worsened his punishment. Thus, the Brazilian player runs the risk of being banned from football permanently.