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Textor reiterates allegations of Brazil match-fixing in CPI

| By Kyle Goldsmith
Botafogo de Futebol e Regatas owner John Textor reaffirmed his allegations of match-fixing in Brazil in a parliamentary inquiry commission (CPI) on sports betting meeting on Monday.
Brazil CPI Textor

Textor previously stated he had evidence that São Paulo players were bribed in a Brazil top-flight match against Palmeiras. Palmeiras went on to win the game 5-0. A month previously, Textor also claimed he was in possession of a recording of a referee who had been bribed.

In response, Senator Jorge Kajuru passed the claims onto director of the federal police Andrei Rodrigues. Kajuru also requested that federal police summon Textor within 24 hours, while also asking Textor to bring the available evidence.

A CPI was then started to aid the investigation of match-fixing allegations in Brazilian sport. Kajuru was appointed president, while Senator Eduardo Girão was named vice-president. In addition, former footballer Romário was made rapporteur.

The CPI aims to investigate match-fixing complaints in a weekly meeting, responding to allegations from players, managers and betting companies. A potential ban from football could then be requested from the courts if wrongdoing is found.

Textor was summoned to the CPI following its inception. He then stated his evidence would be passed to the commission in a secret meeting. The Botafogo owner also noted that he never made allegations that Palmeiras were directly involved in match-fixing.

Textor alleges wrongdoing

Textor states technology he hired evaluated human behaviour, identifying abnormal actions. In the game between São Paulo and Palmeiras, which the latter won 5-0, the technology found five São Paulo players demonstrated abnormalities. One of those players had eight deficiencies, nearly three times above what is considered the normal rate.

Textor maintains the game was fixed. During the CPI, Textor said he didn’t know whether Palmeiras players were involved. However, he reaffirmed his belief that there were unusual behaviours on show.

Textor claimed he had been analysing potential match-fixing since 2017. He highlighted one game between Vasco da Gama and Palmeiras in which a video assistant referee (VAR) camera was poorly placed, leading to an incorrectly disallowed Vasco da Gama goal.

Another of Textor’s examples was in a game between Botafogo and Palmeiras. Textor claims a Botafogo player was wrongly sent off, before Palmeiras turned the match around to win 4-3.

The CPI response

In response, Romário enquired whether Textor had used the technology on his own Botafogo team, as well as claims that Textor was looking to utilise his allegations to sell the club. In response, Textor said he used the technology to study the team’s poor performance in the season prior, although the results are not yet available, while Textor denied the allegations that he was using the claims as a strategy to sell Botafogo.

Kajuru also quizzed Textor over what he felt could be a contradiction. In a previous YouTube video, Textor claimed he had strong evidence of Palmeiras profiting from match-fixing over a two-season period. However, Textor then claimed he hadn’t accused Palmeiras of wrongdoing.

In response, Textor stated he had not contradicted himself, instead stating that while he believed Palmeiras did benefit from alleged manipulation in the 2022 and 2023 seasons, he never made allegations that Palmeiras or São Paulo were directly behind any match-fixing.

Romário also raised the question of whether the technology Textor highlighted was accurate enough to make such claims, particularly when it could misjudge whether a player simply loses concentration or is directly involved in match-fixing.

The next steps

In Textor’s view, the police and CPI could take action, which includes the potential for players or managers to be banned from Brazilian football. Meanwhile, both São Paulo and Palmeiras have previously stated they are planning to take legal action against Textor.

Senator Carlos Portinho stated his belief that without a proper investigation, any potential manipulation won’t be identified. Senator Veneziano Vital do Rêgo, meanwhile, believes Textor’s CPI comments could help the commission to establish potential punitive measures.

Girão, who has long been critical of the gambling industry in Brazil, outlined his thoughts that Brazilians are at risk of getting themselves into debt due to betting.

Girão also questioned Textor on the level of Brazil Football Confederation (CBF) involvement in the potential match-fixing, to which he replied he had passed on a 70-page report to the federation in December on his allegations. The American businessman also stated that his complaints did indeed include CBF complicity.

Textor praises the CPI

Textor praised the CPI for its work, noting its “courage” in tackling the problem of match fixing in Brazil, something he claimed he hadn’t seen anywhere else globally.

“It’s a very important day for me and I hope it’s also for Brazilian football,” Textor said. “It’s a sport we all love.”

Textor himself came in for praise from some members of the CPI, with Senator Do Rêgo noting the collaborative nature of Textor’s involvement in the CPI, while Romário also commended the Botafogo owner’s courage in making such allegations.

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