West Ham star LUCAS PAQUETA facing 10-year ban after being charged with match fixing

Friday, May 24, 2024
 - West Ham midfielder, Lucas Paqueta, is facing a lengthy ban from football after being charged with four counts of spot-fixing in Premier League games.

According to reports, Paqueta had been charged on Thursday afternoon, May 23 by the FA who accused him of being deliberately booked in an attempt to influence betting markets.

The FA allege that Paqueta was deliberately booked in top-flight matches against Leicester, Aston Villa, Leeds and Bournemouth so that either he and/or his friends could profit from bets placed on him being carded.

The Brazilian denies any wrongdoing and has the full support of his club.

The FA's allegations have the potential to wreck his career and might develop into a high-profile corruption case.

Already, a proposed £80million summer transfer to Manchester City has collapsed with the Premier League champions withdrawing their long-standing interest, and a huge ban is inevitable if he is found guilty of any of the charges.

Former Reading defender, Kynan Isaac was given a career-ending 10-year ban from football for deliberately being booked whilst playing for Stratford Town in an FA Cup first-round tie against Shrewsbury three years ago.

Isaac was accused of being part of a conspiracy with friends to beat the bookmakers, with an independent commission handing him the longest ban since the notorious match-fixing scandal of 1964, which led to several players being jailed and given life bans.

Paqueta has co-operated with the FA throughout the investigation since last August, handing in his phone and being interviewed on several occasions last autumn, but hit out at the governing body after being charged on Thursday.

'I am extremely surprised and upset that the FA has decided to charge me,' Paqueta said in a statement on social media. 'For nine months, I have cooperated with every step of their investigation and provided all the information I can.

'I deny the charges in their entirety and will fight with every breath to clear my name. Due to the ongoing process, I will not be providing any further comment.'

Paqueta aged 26, is due to play for Brazil in the Copa America this summer, although he was rested for several international games by head coach Dorival Junior after the FA launched their investigation last year before returning to the side to face England at Wembley in March.

Paqueta was booked after 60 minutes in the first game against Leicester for a lunge on Boubakary Soumare, against Villa for a late tackle on John McGinn in the 70th minute, and against Leeds in the 65th minute for pulling back Crysencio Summerville.

Paqueta's final booking in the first game of this season against Bournemouth was given for handling the ball in added time, the offence which triggered the FA investigation.

According to the Daily Mail, the FA were alerted after being tipped off by integrity officers who had spotted an unusual amount of betting activity on those bookings, much of it traced to Paqueta Island, off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

'It is alleged 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 for one or more persons to profit from betting,' the FA said in a statement.

'Lucas categorically denies the breach and will continue to robustly defend his position,' West Ham said. 'The club will continue to stand by and support the player throughout the process.'

Paqueta's case will be heard by an independent commission and he could be given a ban if found guilty. While Ivan Toney received an eight-month ban for betting on football last year it is understood that Paqueta has not been accused of placing any bets himself.

Paqueta has until 3 June to formally respond to the charges, with a disciplinary hearing expected to take place later this summer. 

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