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West Ham’s Lucas Paqueta breaks silence on alleged betting breaches as he faces FA charge

West Ham’s Lucas Paqueta breaks silence on the alleged betting breaches as he faces an FA charge, put to him on Thursday afternoon.

He has been accused of engaging in spot-fixing activities during four Premier League matches, but despite denying any involvement in wrongdoing, the Football Association has pressed charges against him for his behaviour in games against Leicester in November 2022, Aston Villa in March 2023, Leeds in May 2023, and Bournemouth last August.

Reports claim that he is facing a severe 10 year ban, comparable to the one imposed on Kynan Isaac, a Stratford Town defender, in 2022 for his participation in a spot-fixing scheme alongside his friends.

Notably, this ban is the longest since the 1964 match-fixing scandal, which resulted in the imprisonment and lifetime bans for numerous players.

Paqueta is not accused of betting himself, which players are barred from. The bets in question were placed by accounts registered in Paqueta Island — just off Rio de Janeiro — where the West Ham star was born.

“It’s alleged that he directly sought to influence the progress, conduct, or any other aspect of, or occurrence in these matches by intentionally seeking to receive a card from the referee for the improper purpose of affecting the betting market in order for one or more persons to profit from betting,” the FA said a statement.

Lucas Paqueta also said: “I am extremely surprised and upset that the FA has decided to charge me. For nine months, I have cooperated with every step of their investigation and provided all the information I can. I deny the charges in their entirety and will fight with every breath to clear my name. Due to the ongoing process, I will not be providing any further comment.”

Paqueta has also been charged with two breaches of FA Rule F3 in respect of alleged failures to comply pursuant to FA Rule F2, which relates to providing information and documents.

West Ham pledged to stand by their player.

“The club acknowledges receipt of the FA charge received by Lucas Paqueta for alleged breaches of their rules,” a spokesperson said.

“Lucas categorically denies the breach and will continue to robustly defend his position.

“The club will continue to stand by and support the player throughout the process and will make no further comment until the matter is concluded.”

Paqueta has until the 3rd of June to provide a response to the charges, subject to any request for an extension to this deadline.

BBC Sport chief football reporter Simon Stone wrote: “Paqueta is pleading his innocence and West Ham are standing by their man.

“It can only be hoped for his sake that he manages to explain what happened satisfactorily, because the scale of the accusations are huge.

“Brentford and England striker Ivan Toney served an eight-month ban for betting breaches, some of which involved his own team to lose, but not in games he was playing in.

“In 2020 England defender Kieran Trippier was banned for 10 weeks for advising a friend he was about to join Atletico Madrid.

“This would be different. It would effectively be in-game spot-fixing.

“Paqueta says he is ‘surprised and upset’ by the charges.

“The potential penalties range from six months to a lifetime ban, so the seriousness of the situation cannot be overstated.”

This is what are saying as West Ham’s Lucas Paqueta breaks silence on the alleged betting breaches as he faces an FA charge…

@JamieH_WHUFC: We are with you Lucas all the way ❤️⚒️

@AUCasanna: Hope you get it sorted ⚒️

@lindacole48: We’re behind you Lucas ⚒❤️

@ZaynafamilyMary: Oh Lucas well we will support you as always ❤️🇧🇷⚒

@Jus_Wilson: New manager announced and star player charged with betting allegations. Just another Thursday at West Ham United ⚒️

@the_elastico: Timing here must be infuriating for Paquetá. He was on the verge of a £100m move to Man City last window when the allegations first came out. Killed the move. No official charges all season. Rumors once again of a transfer. And right before window starts…official charges.

@WestHamPlace: The Paquetá stuff is very concerning. But I still think it’s almost impossible to prove. Even if everything points to him being guilty, proving it is so hard. Even if someone had a bet on him, proving he knew and proving he did it for that reason may be hard to prove beyond reasonable doubt. I can’t see where the smoking gun will be for this and expect the charges to be dropped

@MarkHor85004053: I agree, unless there’s messages that drop him in it it’s impossible to prove, besides I’ve always said betting on Paqueta to recieve a booking was always a decent bet anyway because of the type of player he is, whenever I bet I usually switch between him & alverez to be booked

@jimbobthejetset: He’s been under investigation for 9 months. They will have a concrete case against him. Spot fixing is serious and they will say based on suspicious betting patterns in his home country and his yellow cards it’s enough. Last one got a 6 year ban.

@ljacks1118: The problem is the FA have a much lower burden of proof to dish out suspensions and the likes, if anything it’s just going to track on for ages and end up with a ban, just means he’s more likely to be at West Ham abit long

@AdamHaste: Civil and criminal law work differently. Criminal law has to be beyond reasonable doubt. So the suggestion in lack of referral to the police is there is no cast iron proof. Civil law works on balance of probabilities. So this is what would be applied in this case.

@JimMunro: That’s a summer move out of the window… taken nine months to get to this point #whufc #coyi

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