Brazilian judge postpones Textor trial to examine Good Game! report

April 19 – Brazil’s sports tribunal has postponed the trial of Botafogo owner John Textor after the American presented ‘credible’ evidence to back up his allegations of match-fixing.

Textor has claimed that two matches involving reigning Brazilian champions Palmeiras were manipulated last year.

He submitted his evidence to police, but his accusations landed him in hot water with Brazil’s sports judiciary.

Brazilian newspaper O Globo reported that Textor submitted videos with match action that was identified as suspicious to the tribunal, which prompted the judge to adjourn and consider the evidence. 

Textor has repeatedly referred to a report by Good Game!, a software system that through video analysis conducts a “multifactorial investigation of technical and tactical actions of sport stakeholders to identify the suspicious ones during sport competitions”. Good Game! says its “method, developed with the benefit of almost 15 years of experience of performance data analysis, can detect match manipulation with a probability over 99%.”

While the betting monitoring sites are used by many sports courts as evidence of betting related match-fixing, Good Game!’s system has yet to be accepted evidentiary proof by courts.

In a recent interview with UOL Textor said that “when people say it’s just Good Game’s report: firstly, it’s not all we have. Secondly, it should be enough. So you better know what you’re talking about when you use this on a TV show to minimise this technology. Because you’ll be on the wrong side of history and you’ll look like an idiot.”

His accusations have also infuriated other clubs, including Palmeiras, and the Confederation of Brazilian Football (CBF). In 2022, Textor acquired Botafogo, one of Rio’s leading clubs, as Brazil opened up to foreign investment. 

Textor is on trial for ‘invasion’ (article 258-B) and for defamation offences against the refereeing, the league organisers and its president Ednaldo Rodrigues (article 243-F). In the first degree, Textor was suspended for 35 days and fined R$25,000 ($4,800).

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