Premier League and Brazil star latest to be charged over allegations he deliberately received yellow cards


West Ham midfielder Lucas Paqueta has been charged by English football authorities after it was alleged the Brazil international deliberately received yellow cards during Premier League matches to influence betting markets.

“I deny the charges in their entirety,” Paqueta wrote in an immediate response on his Instagram account, “and will fight with every breath to clear my name.”

The case follows hot on the heels of the scandal at Macarthur Bulls, where three players have been charged by police for allegedly taking yellow cards to influence betting markets.

Captain Ulises Dávila, Clayton Lewis and Kearyn Baccus were charged after the NSW Police Organised Crime Squad Gaming Unit launched an investigation into the alleged manipulation of yellow cards during football games for gambling purposes.

Police will allege Dávila, 33, had been allegedly taking instructions from a man — believed to be in South America — to organise yellow cards to occur during certain points in A-League games.

The Paqueta case centres on four matches from November 2022 to August 2023. Paqueta received a yellow card in each of them.

Paqueta you silly sausage. He was desperate for it. ????

— Jay (@JayVtid) May 23, 2024

The Football Association said Paqueta has been charged with misconduct for breaching two of its rules.

“It’s alleged,” the FA said, “that he directly sought to influence the progress, conduct, or any other aspect of, or occurrence in these matches by intentionally seeking to receive a card from the referee for the improper purpose of affecting the betting market in order for one or more persons to profit from betting.”

The 26-year-old Paqueta was also charged with “alleged failures to comply”, the FA said.

He has until June 3 to officially respond to the charges, but took to Instagram to say he is “extremely surprised and upset that the FA has decided to charge me.”

“For nine months, I have co-operated with every step of their investigation and provided all the information I can,” he wrote.

West Ham said Paqueta “categorically denies the breach and will continue to robustly defend his position.”

“The club will continue to stand by and support the player throughout the process,” West Ham said.

Paqueta, who two weeks ago was selected in Brazil’s squad for the Copa America, has continued to play for West Ham while the FA was investigating the alleged betting breaches.

The investigation has reportedly scuppered a potential move for Paqueta to English champions Manchester City.

The Premier League matches in question were against Leicester on November 12, 2022; Aston Villa on March 12, 2023; Leeds on May 21, 2023; and Bournemouth on Aug. 12, 2023.

Paqueta received a yellow card in four matches against Leicester, Aston Villa, Leeds and Bournemouth, each time in the second half. Against Bournemouth, he was booked for a deliberate handball in the fourth minute of stoppage time.

Tried to find all the Paqueta yellows mentioned in the FA charge, found two so far.

This is most recent one, where he jumps up and punches the ball vs

— Dan Critchlow (@afcDW) May 23, 2024

The charges are more akin to those of spot-fixing, which is more common in cricket.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Paqueta has been accused of placing bets on himself.

Brentford striker Ivan Toney and Newcastle midfielder Sandro Tonali have been banned over the past year for breaching betting rules.

Paqueta, a hard-working and technically gifted midfielder, joined West Ham from French club Lyon in August 2022.

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