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Senate match fixing inquiry begins in Brazil

By - 15 April 2024

The Parliamentary Inquiry Commission (CPI) on Sports Betting (CPiae) has been established. Senator Romário was chosen as the rapporteur. The presidency and vice-presidency were taken by Senators Jorge Kajuru and Eduardo Girão respectively.

At the first meeting, the members made it clear that the objective of the commission is to “get to the bottom of things . . .” referring to allegations of match-fixing and sports betting.

Romário who authored the motion which provided the impetus for the CPI said:

“We are aware of the problems our football has faced over the years. Here are people who truly want to get to the bottom of things, they want to open the black boxes [secrets] of these sports betting houses in our country, understand better what kind of manipulation has been happening, and who are the authors and actors of these manipulations,” he said.

The allegations to be investigated by the CPI involve players, officials, and betting companies.

Kajuru stated that the CPI should start its work this week and that the intention is to invite as the first witness the owner of Botafogo’s Football Business Corporation (SAF), John Textor.

“Textor, the owner of Botafogo, whom all of Brazil is waiting for, will be our first invitee. Brazil wants to know the evidence he has, the recordings he has, it would really be the explosive start of this CPI.”

In an interview, Textor claimed to have recordings that would prove corruption in the football refereeing of the Brazilian Football Championship. John Textor is an executive from the United States who operates Rio de Janeiro-based club Botafogo through Eagle Football Holdings.

Last year, Botafogo lost a 13-point advantage, resulting in them losing the national league title and finishing in fifth place. Textor has alleged that defending champions Palmeiras benefitted from a match-fixing operation. Palmeiras has refuted these claims and has lodged a complaint against Textor at the nation’s highest sports court. Additionally, other teams have hinted at taking legal action in response.

Kajuru went on to say that, by consensus, the CPI would meet every Wednesday.

In the opinion of the vice-president, Senator Eduardo Girão, the CPI will have the mission of restoring the credibility of football, which, according to the Senator, is being tarnished by allegations of sports betting corruption.

The CPI will be composed of 11 titular senators and 7 alternates, and is scheduled to last for 180 days.

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