Lucas Paqueta’s FA betting probe was launched after a flurry of bets in Brazil – with West Ham’s sponsor Betway – on him getting booked against Aston Villa in March, claim reports in his homeland
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Lucas Paqueta’s booking in West Ham’s home match against Aston Villa in March is at the centre of an FA investigation into the playmaker for alleged betting breaches, according to reports in Brazil.
Globo reports that people close to the star opened accounts with West Ham’s sponsor Betway to place significant bets on him being booked ahead of the 1-1 draw at the London Stadium.
Mail Sport exclusively revealed on Friday that Paqueta, 25, is the subject of a Football Association investigation into alleged breaches of gambling rules – which has moved his potential transfer to Manchester City to the brink of collapse.
It is believed the investigation centres on bets which were placed with bookmakers in Brazil and that they relate to in-game incidents as opposed to the outcomes of West Ham’s matches.
Sources on Friday also alleged that the alarm was raised when accounts were traced back to Paqueta Island in Guanabara Bay, which is where Paqueta grew up. Paqueta and his representatives have yet to comment on the allegations.
Lucas Paqueta’s (left) yellow card in West Ham’s 1-1 draw with Aston Villa is reportedly part of the FA’s betting probe. Emi Buendia (right) is not involved in any way
Paqueta’s (left) summer move from West Ham to Manchester City has fallen through
Paqueta is pictured this summer with his partner Duda Fournier at a friend’s wedding
Further details of the alleged reasons for the FA probe have now reportedly emerged. According to Globo, betting accounts linked to those close to the Brazilian were opened with Betway, West Ham’s front of shirt sponsor, in March.
The ‘maximum’ amount allowed was deposited into the accounts, Globo claims.
They were then used to place bets on Paqueta to be booked in West Ham’s 1-1 home draw with Aston Villa on March 12, the outlet has reported. The playmaker was given a yellow card in the second half, one of nine he was handed for club and country last season.
Globo reported the same accounts were used to place wagers on Real Betis forward Luiz Henrique getting a booking in their match against Villarreal on the same day. Henrique was also yellow-carded in the game.
The Brazilian outlet said the opening of the accounts drew suspicion, which grew when Paqueta was booked. Betway is also not a popular betting side in the South American nation.
It is understood Paqueta has yet to be formally interviewed by disciplinary chiefs and that the player is immediately denying any wrongdoing.
The 25-year-old is expected to seek advice from his legal team as the FA’s investigation continues.
Paqueta is set to continue to play for West Ham in the meantime. Manager David Moyes has no issue with including him in the line-up against Chelsea on Sunday, so long as he senses his player is in the proper state of mind.
He had been named in Brazil’s squad for next month’s World Cup qualifiers before being withdrawn from the side at the 11th hour because of the betting investigation.
Brazil’s interim coach Fernando Diniz said he had omitted Paqueta at the last minute ‘for him to sort out his problems’.
Brazil’s interim coach Fernando Diniz confirmed Paqueta had been withdrawn from the squad following Mail Sport’s exclusive story
But Paqueta, 25, could still feature for West Ham in their home clash with Chelsea on Sunday
‘Paqueta was on the list, he’s a player I like a lot. It’s a time for him to resolve these issues,’ Diniz told reporters.
‘People need time to sort these issues out. He’s a player I love, I have the best impressions of him.’
City were interested in signing Paqueta this summer after approaching West Ham with an initial £70m offer, with the Premier League champions said to have increased their interest after the injury to Kevin De Bruyne.
Yet it emerged yesterday morning that talks over that move had collapsed due to ‘confidential’ issues. Sources then confirmed that Paqueta was the subject of an FA investigation. West Ham and the FA declined to comment while FIFA were also contacted.
Paqueta cost a club-record £51m when West Ham signed him from Lyon last summer and he was a key player in their Europa Conference League triumph, assisting Jarrod Bowen for his last-minute winner in Prague. His impressive performances, including in West Ham’s season-opening 1-1 draw at Bournemouth last weekend, saw him discussed as a temporary replacement for De Bruyne, who faces up to four months on the sidelines after a serious hamstring injury.
Players have faced harsh penalties for the FA’s breaking betting rules. Brentford striker Ivan Toney is the most recent high-profile example as he was banned from football for eight months after admitting 232 breaches. He is not due to return until January 2024.
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