Textor puts match-fixing claims that lost Botafogo Serie A title in writing

April 2 – Botafogo owner John Textor has repeated his claim that match-fixing riddled the Brazilian top flight in 2023 and that decided the destination of the championship that was won by Palmeiras. Both Sao Paulo and Fortaleza have threatened legal action against the American. 

Textor pointed to two 2023 victories by Palmeiras he called “unworthy” title holders, claiming that the games were fixed in favour of the Sao Paulo club – a 4-0 win against Fortaleza and the 5-0 win against cross-town rivals Sao Paulo.

“The Palmeiras – São Paulo match in October 2023 was, according to leading experts and artificial intelligence, manipulated by at least five São Paulo players,” wrote Textor.

“A total of seven players showed abnormal deviations in key goal-scoring situations, although only five players exceeded the limits that would establish clear and convincing evidence of game manipulation. It must be clear that the evidence does not establish the motive, nor does it suggest that any club or any party was responsible for the manipulation, other than the specific players identified.”

Textor also said that following Palmeiras’s drubbing of Fortaleza, the Confederation of Brazilian Football (CBF) received two emails that alerted the governing body to “obvious manipulation of the match”, but that the CBF didn’t take any action.

It’s not the first time that Textor has levelled serious accusations against other clubs or officials. In March, he targeted Brazilian referees, citing a match that also involved Palmeiras.

Sao Paulo responded with a statement saying that the club “has become aware of and vehemently repudiates the serious and unfounded accusations of participation of athletes from the squad in match manipulation made by the owner of Botafogo. Such a statement without any trace of proof attacks the suitability of players from the men’s squad and the integrity of the São Paulo FC institution in its 94 years of history.”

“The club has already engaged its legal department, which will make an assessment and take the appropriate legal measures.”

Fortaleza’s statement was similar as the club repudiated “the absurd and unfounded statements”, lamented the damage to its reputation and said that it “will take all appropriate legal measures.”

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