In a few weeks, West Ham star Lucas Paqueta will stand at a hearing where he will deny his involvement in a betting scandal.
The FA will anxiously seek a speedy resolution. The allegations were leaked at a time when Manchester City were hoping to sign the Brazilian midfielder in a reported £70m transfer deal.
A meeting was originally scheduled to meet on Monday, August 21, 2023. Rather than jump into a hearing immediately, the FA have decided to postpone a few weeks until they gather more information.
West Ham and Man City both knew about betting allegations surrounding Lucas Paqueta while a transfer was being discussed.
Paqueta meanwhile denies any wrong-doing and asked to postpone any hearings until his representatives return from holiday and conclude their own investigation.
Last week, Paqueta was accused of cooperating in a betting scandal that included a group from his small hometown off Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro coast. The scandal includes Real Betis forward Luis Henrique, also born and raised in the same small town. Allegedly both players agreed to force a yellow card in their respective matches on March 12, 2023.
Paqueta made a foul in the 23rd minute of the second half of a match versus Aston Villa. Several new accounts were opened up on the Betway betting app, who are also kit sponsors for West Ham.
The new reportedly all made a married bet that saw both players get a yellow card. All the accounts were traced back to a group of friends, all hailing from the same small town. Originally, the accusations claimed the group included cousins of Paqueta, but that has since been dismissed.
A source says the alleged infraction has been known for weeks at the Hammers: “There’s no panic within the team over this,” says the West Ham source. “This is something we had known about and we have investigated internally as well. We take these matters seriously.”
So why did we just hear about it on August 18?: “There are accusations on players that happen all the time, most of them are unreported because they really don’t lead to anything further,” the source said.
They went on to say that no one was obligated to report or talk about the infraction until there was an actual charge.
Typically when teams are looking to buy a player on the transfer market there are executives who run a check on a player to see if there have been any past charges dropped, failed drug tests, domestic issues, or criminal activity. Normal due diligence for a player of Paqueta’s stature and the amount of money that was about to exchange hands, means there will be a rigorous security check that sometimes includes delving into a player’s past.
During Man City’s check of Paqueta the Betway betting allegation did come up. They knew about it almost as long as West Ham did. And the allegations were spoken about in talks between the two clubs.
Our West Ham ITK told us: “I can’t and won’t go into numbers discussed for Paqueta. But we did reach a stalemate and [the allegations] were mentioned.” But West Ham didn’t flinch from their huge asking price, determined not to lose him.
On Friday a story was made public about Paqueta’s alleged participation in a betting scandal. The FA reacted quickly publicly scheduling a hearing for Monday, but as the weekend passed, the urgency for a hearing dissipated. It is unknown who leaked the allegations to the press.
“I can’t confirm whether it was Manchester City or not, but it’s disappointing that it came out when it did,” said the source. “I imagine scheduling a hearing suddenly was reactionary. It doesn’t surprise me that the hearing has now been postponed.”
So what’s next for Paqueta?
As stated, Paqueta is cooperating with all investigations. Throughout the transfer attempts by Manchester City, Paqueta has remained neutral. He’s expressed to West Ham that there is a desire to play for one of the top 3 or 4 teams in the world, but only if the price is right in fees and West Ham get the deal they want.
“He’s expressed his desire to finish what he started here,” the source said. “There has never been pressure from the player to let him go.”
Paqueta has started the season in claret and blue well, putting in two excellent performances versus Bournemouth and Chelsea. He showed is happy in East London with his crossed hammers celebration after netting a penalty against the Blues.