August 23 – West Ham United midfielder Lucas Paquetá is being investigated by the English Football Association (FA) over potential breaches of betting rules.
According to sources close to the player, Paqueta refutes any claims of personally placing any bets. The core issue is over bets made within the player’s homeland of Brazil.
Suspicious betting activity was reportedly identified around three yellow cards given to Paquetá; two last season against Aston Villa in March and against Leeds in May. A further spike in betting patterns was recorded around his yellow card against Bournemouth on August 12 this season.
While Paquetá is not the first Premier League player to be investigated for betting-related spot or match-fixing, other investigations have generally been when the player has been competing in lower divisions.
On Friday, Brazil’s coach Fernando Diniz announced that he has excluded Paquetá from the roster for the first round of the South American qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup to “preserve” the player as he navigates through the ongoing investigation.
“It’s a matter of preservation, of letting him resolve these issues, which go beyond football and keeping him at ease to work on this matter. This is a situation (illegal betting) that we also have here in Brazil and it takes time for things to settle down and clarify,” Diniz said at a press conference in Sao Paulo.
Diniz insisted the Brazilian midfielder has the “doors open” to come back to the national team as soon as “he positively resolves those issues that occurred at the last minute.”
The player was a priority transfer target for treble-winners Manchester City, who have since dropped interest in the attacking midfielder after it became clear he was under investigation by the FA.
The club had identified the Brazilian international as a replacement for the injured Kevin De Bruyne, who won’t make a return until the new year after the 32-year-old went under the knife in an attempt to fix a reoccurring hamstring injury.
Manchester City have already had a bid of £70 million turned down by the Hammers, who will seek to keep their star midfielder after the departure of Declan Rice to Arsenal this summer.
Brentford striker Ivan Toney was suspended in May after he admitted to 232 breaches of the FA’s betting restrictions, which ruled him out of all football-related activity for 8 months. None of Toney’s offences were while he was playing in the Premier League.
Paqueta is expected to feature in West Ham’s next Premier League fixture away at Brighton, after scoring a last-minute penalty last weekend in the Hammers’ victory over London rivals Chelsea.
Contact the writer of this story, Harry Ewing, at moc.l1701356479labto1701356479ofdlr1701356479owedi1701356479sni@o1701356479fni1701356479