Premier League player charged with breaking betting regulations

LONDON.- The steering wheel of West Ham Lucas Paquetá was charged on Thursday by English football authorities after the Brazilian international allegedly received intentional cards during matches of the Premier League to influence the betting market.

“I completely deny the charges,†Paquetá said in an immediate response on his Instagram account. “I'm going to fight with everything I have to clear my name.”

The case focuses on four yellow cards that he received between November 2022 and August 2023. Paquetá received a yellow card in each match.

The English Football Federation reported that Paquetá has been charged with breaking two of its rules on sports betting.

“Allegedly, he directly attempted to influence the progress, conduct and other aspects of those matches by deliberately seeking to receive a card from the referee with the improper purpose of affecting the betting market so that one or more persons would benefit from the bets,†the FA said.

He also accused the player of not complying with a rule that refers to the delivery of information and documentation.

Paquetá has until June 3 to respond to the charges, but on Instagram he said he felt “extremely surprised and upset that the FA decided to charge him.”

“For nine months I have cooperated with all steps of the investigation and provided all possible information,†he wrote.

West Ham response:

West Ham indicated that Paquetá “categorically denies the breach and will continue to defend his position.”

“The club will continue to support its player throughout the process,†West Ham said. “We will not make any further comment until the matter is concluded.”

Paquetá, who two weeks ago was called up by Brazil for the America's Cup to be played in the United States starting next month, will continue playing with West Ham while the FA investigation continues for allegedly breaking its betting rules. It has been speculated that the investigation was ruined by his possible move to English champions Manchester City.

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

Paquetá received yellow cards in the second half in each of those games. Against Bournemouth he received a card for a handball in the fourth minute of added time.

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

It is unclear whether Paquetá has been accused of gambling.

Brentford striker Ivan Toney and Newcastle midfielder Sandro Tonali were banned in the last year for breaking betting rules.

The accusations against Paquetá occurred on the same day that West Ham announced their new coach, the Spanish Julen Lopetegui.

Paquetá, a midfielder by trade and gifted with good technique, arrived at West Ham from Lyon in France in August 2022.