Background in FA’s charges against Lucas Paqueta

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By Sean Whetstone

Suspicions were first raised in when Lucas Paqueta was backed from in from 5/1 earlier in the week to odds-on at 8/11 to receive a yellow card on 12th March 2023 when West Ham hosted Aston Villa at the London Stadium.

Prior to that game Paqueta had only been booked three times for the whole season so questions were being asked.

In addition to the single bets on a yellow card for Paqueta there were doubles which predicted that Lucas Paquetá receive a yellow card in the match between West Ham and Aston Villa and also that fellow Brazilian Luiz Henrique would be cautioned with a yellow card in the match between Real Betis (his team at the time) and Villareal. Both players picked up yellow cards.

Reports from Brazil last August claim the majority of those bets were made in Duque de Caxias (Baixada Fluminense) Brazil on Betway accounts linked to people close to Lucas Paquetá and Luiz Henrique. Betway is not a popular betting app in Brazil, so it was flagged as unusual activity.

Initial analysis showed that on that day several new accounts were created on the Betway website, with users depositing the maximum amount allowed. These accounts made a matched bet to increase the winnings: the authors would only receive the money if Paquetá was yellow carded against Aston Villa and if Betis striker Luiz Henrique received the card against Villarreal on March 12.

At the time £200 was the maximum bet on new accounts for yellow card bets with established accounts with betting history able to wager up to £1,000.

The West Ham game finished in a 1-1 draw and Paquetá received a yellow card in the second half. The La Liga match also ended in a 1-1 draw with Luiz Henrique booked in the 43rd minute.

Those betting patterns triggered an automatic alert from their integrity monitoring computer systems used by most bookies. Many of the suspicious bets were traced to Paqueta Island, with the concern of integrity officials heightened by the fact that much of the money was gambled using new accounts.

Betway were the first bookmaker to report the matter to the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA), who passed it on to FIFA and the FA but others followed suit.

Betway were not alone, and other bookmakers also are alleged to have taken bets on Paqueta to be carded including at least one European operator and several local Brazilian operators which are unregulated.

In 2021 the same monitoring system flagged a £310,000 bet on Arsenal player Granit Xhaka receiving a yellow card with another £55,000 in-play bet also placed on the yellow card.

In May last year the Arsenal player was completely cleared in the betting scam on the basis there was no evidence of the player’s involvement.

Yesterday, Paqueta was charged by the FA with four counts are breaching rule E5.1 which is match fixing and one count of rule F3 which relates to not fully complying with the investigation.

The match fixing offence can be classed as a criminal offence under the 2006 Fraud Act and 2005 Gambling Act but as yet the case has not been referred to Police which indicates it doesn’t meet the legal threshold for prosecution.

In criminal cases, the burden of proof is on the prosecution, and the standard required of them is that they prove the case against the defendant “beyond reasonable doubt”. For the benefit of the jury in the Crown Court, this is usually expressed as requiring them to be “satisfied so that you are sure” of the defendant’s guilt. This is unofficially described as the 99% test.

In civil cases, the burden of proof is on the claimant, and the standard required of them is that they prove the case against the defendant “on a balance of probabilities”. This is unofficially described as the 51% test. The FA commission that will hear this case fits in the latter category.

What is most worrying is parallels with The FA v Kynan Isaac case in 2022

In 2022, Stratford Town defender Kynan Isaac was banned for 10 years for his part in spot-fixing during an FA Cup tie. The 29-year-old played for the Southern League club in a 5-1 defeat by Shrewsbury Town in November 2021.

It was later alleged he was deliberately booked as part of a betting scheme with friends. Isaac had spells with Reading and Luton early in his career before moving into non-league with clubs including Banbury United and Oxford City, before joining Warwickshire side Stratford in 2018. He was shown a yellow card for a high tackle in the 83rd minute of the first-round tie against Shrewsbury, which Stratford led for 20 minutes after an early goal.

Isaac received another 18 months ban for failing to supply his phone records to the FA.

Isaac’s 12-year ban tops the six-year suspension given to Lincoln defender Bradley Wood in 2018 for intentionally getting booked on two occasions the previous season. The FA unsuccessfully tried to appeal that six-year ban claiming it was too lenient pushing for a lifetime ban for Wood.

Paqueta denies any wrongdoing and any knowledge of the suspicious bets, which have been traced to Paqueta Island, off the coast of Rio de Janiero.

Paqueta posted his response on social media “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 have 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”

Lucas Paqueta has until 3 June to plead guilty or not guilty to the FA charges or ask for an extension to prepare his defence. It is obvious from his statement he plans to plead not guilty which will mean a three-person Disciplinary Commission panel will hear the case and decide on the outcome. The whole process could take months unless fast tracked by the FA.

The club are worried that Paqueta could be banned for life if found guilty but are standing by him and released a statement yesterday saying

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

Last year La Liga President Javier Tebas suggested both Luiz Henrique and Lucas Paqueta had been ‘Marked by FIFA’

The Real Betis president Angel Harot angrily responded: “I didn’t like the statements, it wasn’t appropriate, because there isn’t enough evidence to definitively state that the player is ‘marked’, but no, I didn’t like them. Have I let him know? Yes.”

In February Botafogo signed Henrique from Spanish side Real Betis for a Brazilian record fee.

The Brazilian Serie A club had paid Betis a fee of 20 million euros (£17m) for the 23-year-old.

Many questions remain unanswered:

Why has Luiz Henrique not been charged?

Why has the FA charged Paqueta with not complying with their investigation when he claims he has in his social media statement?

Why have the spot-fixing charges not been referred to Met Police and/or CPS?

Do the FA have any real evidence of collusion or is it all circumstantial based on betting patterns, locations and analysis of the yellow cards?

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I am Season Ticket Holder in West stand lower at the London Stadium and before that, I used to stand in the Sir Trevor Brooking Lower Row R seat 159 in the Boleyn Ground and in the Eighties I stood on the terraces of the old South Bank. I am a presenter on the West Ham Podcast called A Blogger on a member of the West Ham Supporters Advisory Board (SAB), Founder of a Youtube channel called Mr West Ham Football at,

I am also the associate editor here at Claret and Hugh.

Life Long singer of bubbles! Come on you Irons!

Follow me at @Westhamfootball on twitter


  • Stubbo says:

    With what Sean describes here, the biggest concern is the idea that all they’re looking for is to say “He probably did it” and that with a 49% likelihood that he didn’t do it, that would be deemed enough certainty to end a man’s professional livelihood.

    It also means circumstancial evidence, unusual conincidences and opinion based evidence will be given far more credence.

    Surely if it can’t be proven that there was evidence of correspondence between the parties placing the bets and Paqueta that was in relation to the bets, there can’t be a case.

    This all sounds like something that could carry on rumbling along for a long time to come…if they did him guilty there will likely be appeals at multiple levels etc…especially given the defendant here is a multi-millionaire and has the resources to do so, unlike a lower league footballer without the scope of funding to fight their corner and take it as far as is needed.

    Let’s hope Lucas comes through this, that he’s innocent, and is ultimately found to be so.

  • mark wiggins says:

    How can you prove a yellow card is deliberate , the fouls committed by Paquetá are the same we see in many games . The FA are aving a laugh, always us , there is no proof , bets might be coincidence and tying a coincidence to Paquetá, how can you prove that ? Hope he sues the FA when there will be no charges to answer !

  • Trevsheadwonthecup says:

    Thanks Sean . You’ve explained It than anyone else I’ve seen.

    • Trevsheadwonthecup says:


      • Paul Taylor says:

        Great assessment and I concur, it’s purely circumstantial and unless there’s clear hard evidence from a mobile phone, laptop, tablet or witness connecting him to a third party then there’s insufficient evidence and the FA will find it extremely difficult, in my opinion, to prosecute these charges successfully. I totally accept it does look very suspicious in the circumstances but I don’t know how it can be proven beyond all reasonable doubt. Case dismissed!

  • Syd Puddefoot says:

    I think thats the end of his career. And rightly so if he is guilty.

  • Jacko1uk says:

    I’m amazed Alvarez hasn’t been investigated 😉⚒

  • Magnum says:

    The why hasn’t Luiz Henrique been charged and the fact that this was passed to FIFA as well as the FA yet only the FA are bringing charges is IMO the significant factors here and suggest that the FA have based their case on the balance of probabilities and what the footage looks like……I think this could be tied up with lawyers for another 12 months let’s hope he plays as well as he can with this hanging over his head

    • Julie Rendell says:

      And while it rumbles on, Man City won’t touch him with a bargepole (hopefully)
      Are we sure this wasn’t some elaborate plan by Betway to make sure he stays? 🤣🤣🤣

  • John Ayris says:

    The fouls are no different to what can be seen in the premier league every week, on their own they count for nothing. It’s the claims of unusual betting trends that make the fouls significant. There need to be more than both things happened though, there needs to be a further element of evidence that directly links the two things and whether that exists or not we do not know. The FAs options were to drop the matter now or to press a charge now for the independent panel to consider – Dropping the matter would have looked weak and would have been an FA conclusion to it all is not what they would like to see, passing a charge on to the panel looks far stronger and means that the panel reach the final conclusion is a better outcome from an FA perspective. It all turns on whether there’s linking evidence or not with a charge not being proof that there is.

  • Syd Puddefoot says:

    Are there any precedents for players found guilty being sued by their clubs for the losses they, the clubs, will incur? If LP is found guilty then WHU will lose £85m, or whatever calculation is arrived at, because of his illegal actions.

    • Mark says:

      Adrian Mutu, was sued by Chelsea for drug use. I know a completely different scenario. But they was successful, and won substantial damages.

  • BIlly Bonds Upper says:

    Sounds a little bit bent to me. Is there someone in the FA who doesn’t want Paqueta to join City this summer i.e. someone associated with Arsenal?

  • D.f.butcher says:

    Let’s face it the fact it’s related to paqueta island makes it look suspicious , he might be innocent , he might be guilty as hell, I don’t know I’m not privvy to any evidence , so far its all speculation , lets face it he wouldnt admit to it anyway, I’ve always been brought up with the old adage that theres no smoke without fire, because there isnt enough evidence to prove it doesn’t mean he hasn’t done it , as regards to other cases two wrongs dont make a right, if its proven he is guilty hell get his just desserts.

  • Sawlgawnpearshape says:

    Let’s face it if he were at any other club most of us would be saying guilty, I don’t want it to be proved, but deep down its no coincidence.
    Thanks for the well written background story.

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