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West Ham's Paqueta charged with gambling breach

Lucas Paqueta West Ham Lucas Paqueta - Getty Images

LONDON — West Ham midfielder Lucas Paqueta was charged by English soccer authorities on Thursday after it was alleged the Brazil international deliberately received 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 centers around four matches from November 2022 to August 2023. Paqueta received a yellow card in each of them.

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, "and will make no further comment until the matter is concluded.”

Paqueta, who two weeks ago was selected in Brazil's squad for the Copa America tournament starting next month, 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 champion Manchester City.

The Premier League matches in question were against Leicester on Nov. 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 each of those games, each time in the second half. Against Bournemouth, he was booked for a deliberate handball in the fourth minute of stoppage time.

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.

The charges against Paqueta came on the same day West Ham hired a new manager, Julen Lopetegui.

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


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