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West Ham’s Lucas Paqueta charged over betting breaches

| By Richard Mulligan
West Ham United’s Lucas Paqueta has been accused of intentionally seeking a yellow card to influence betting as he was charged with misconduct by the Football Association.
West Ham

The Brazilian player has been charged with four breaches of FA Rule E5.1 in relation to his conduct in four Premier League fixtures between November 2022 and August 2023. A non-league player received a 10-year ban for his part in a spot-fixing plot in 2022.

It is alleged that Paqueta directly sought to influence the four matches by intentionally seeking to receive a card from the referee. This, the FA said, was for the improper purpose of affecting the betting market in order for one or more persons to profit from betting.

The game against Bournemouth on the opening day of the 2023-24 season is one of the four cited. It has been reported that the FA investigation was triggered by suspicious betting patterns surrounding a stoppage-time yellow card received during that game. Paqueta was reportedly interviewed by the FA last September and later gave the governing body access to his phone.

Paqueta has until 3 June 2024 to provide a response to these charges.

The West Ham player has already denied wrongdoing via his own Instagram page.

“I am extremely surprised and upset that the FA has decided to charge me,” he wrote. “For nine months, I have co-operated with every step of their investigation and provided all the information I can.

“I deny all 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.”

In 2022, Stratford Town’s Kynan Isaac received a 10-year ban for his part in spot-fixing during an FA Cup tie. It was alleged he deliberately got booked as part of a betting scheme with friends. Times journalist Martyn Ziegler claims a single guilty verdict could carry a ban of between six months and a lifetime.

Tonali’s worldwide ban

Last season, Newcastle United’s Sandro Tonali received a 10-month worldwide ban from football for breaching betting rules while an AC Milan player.

Tonali was later handed a two-month suspended ban for 50 breaches of betting rules after his arrival at Newcastle. He had been charged with breaches of FA Rule E8 for placing bets on football between August and October 2023. His ban from football expires in August 2024.

In January 2024, Brentford striker Ivan Toney completed an eight-month ban for breaching FA betting rules.

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