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VaideBet terminates record sponsorship of Corinthians amid corruption allegations

| By Kyle Goldsmith
VaideBet has terminated its sponsorship deal with Corinthians following reports of a corruption investigation related to the negotiations.
Corinthians Vaidebet

In January, Corinthians announced it had agreed a BRL370m (£59.8m/€69.4m/$75.9m) sponsorship deal with VaideBet. The operator was to become its front-of-shirt sponsor for the next three years. The deal was the biggest sponsorship in Brazilian football history.

However, reports emerged that the São Paulo Civil Police were conducting an investigation into irregularities relating to the deal. These included the presence of a third party.

Last Thursday (6 June), Corinthians announced it had responded to a VaideBet request with a letter clarifying negotiation details. The club reiterated it had not committed any illegal acts.

Despite the letter, on Friday the club published a statement. It revealed VaideBet had discontinued its sponsorship despite the investigation not yet reaching a conclusion.

“Corinthians regrets that its commercial partner ended the biggest sports marketing agreement in Brazil, from which the company benefitted to the point of going from an unknown bookmaker to second place in the sector in just five months,” the statement read.

“It is worth mentioning that Corinthians is the most interested in resolving the aforementioned issue. Therefore, it is sparing no effort to ensure that the facts are clarified, whether by its own means, through third parties or in collaboration with the authorities.”

Anti-corruption clause

In its 6 June announcement, Corinthians noted the club included anti-corruption clauses in its standard contracts.

Having not been satisfied with Corinthians’ clarification, VaideBet “regrettably” activated the anti-corruption clause to terminate the sponsorship.

In a statement shared with Games Magazine Brasil, VaideBet outlined the reasons for ending the deal.

“The brand believes that the partnership cannot be maintained as long as there is any suspicion regarding conduct that does not comply with ethics and legal precepts,” VaideBet said. “Just one doubt, in the brand’s ethical opinion, is enough to determine the termination – which was exercised by VaideBet, raising clauses in the contract that protect the brand’s rights in this decision.

“VaideBet regrets the end of a partnership that should have lasted at least three years and thanks the immense and passionate Corinthians fans for their affection and respect, who daily support the history and values of the institution.”

CPI comments on sponsorship

Prior to the discontinuation of the agreement between Vaidebet and Corinthians, a parliamentary inquiry commission (CPI) set up to investigate match-fixing also discussed football sponsorship in Brazil.

Since Bill 3,626/2023 was passed to regulate sports betting in December, a number of sponsorships have been announced alongside Corinthians’. Betfair, for instance, have become the kit sponsor of Vasco da Gama. Betano, meanwhile, has sponsored Brazil’s top-flight, as well as the upcoming Copa America.

Such deals haven’t been without scrutiny, however. In the CPI meeting Senator Eduardo Girão, formerly Fortaleza Esporte Clube president, criticised the deals and their impact on the reputation of Brazilian football.

“The conflict of interest for me is very clear,” Girão said.

“I, as club president, am strictly against it. I think we are killing the golden goose in football. People don’t know if they’re watching a real game or a prearranged one.”

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