Brazil’s Sports Ecosystem Continues to Face Match-Fixing Challenges

Posted on: March 31, 2023, 07:42h. 

Last updated on: March 31, 2023, 09:36h.

As Brazil continues to work on bringing regulated sports betting to the country, the sports industry is trying to cut out a cancerous growth that plagues it. Match-fixing in soccer has been an issue for a while, as it has in other countries, and a new investigation has arrived.

Brazilian soccer players battle for the ball on the field
Brazilian soccer players battle for the ball on the field. The sport continues to be embroiled in a match-fixing scandal involving several Series B teams. (Image: Athletistic)

The manipulation of results in sports betting has become a regular topic in Brazil. It’s even made it into legislative conversations as the country moves closer to adopting new regulations.

The latest alleged match-fixing case focuses on 14 people, including players, and at least three matches in the last round of Series B of the Brazilian Championship. As a result, several of the athletes are now under investigation.

Maximum Penalty

In what the authorities have dubbed the Maximum Penalty investigation, the Public Ministry has accused eight players of participating in an alleged match-fixing in the same Series B. This is an extension of a match-fixing case that created a scandal at the beginning of February.

The players were charged with match-fixing and corruption in sports competitions. They still face sentencing and could receive prison sentences ranging from two to six years, in addition to a fine, if found guilty.

One of the accused is Joseph Maurício de Oliveira Figueiredo of the Tombense soccer club. Local media outlet Globo reported that his attorney confirmed that the suspicions led to the termination of his contract with the club.

Figueiredo allegedly committed a penalty on the last day of Serie B competition in 2022. He was reportedly responding to a request from a rogue sports betting group, but has repeatedly expressed his innocence.

Also named in the scandal are Gabriel Domingos de Moura, Marcus Vinicius Albes Barreira, Ygor de Oliveira Ferreira, and others. In almost all of the cases, the players allegedly received money for committing penalties in the first half of the matches. The investigation continues, and other players may be identified, as well.

New Legislation in the Works

The fallout has been big enough that Arthur Lira, president of the Chamber of Deputies, has approved a request to create a Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry focused on possible match-fixing cases linked to sports betting.

This will likely be part of the regulatory framework of sports betting in Brazil, which is still in the works. Although expectations were that a provisional measure would be ready by the end of this month, the issue remains unclear in the Brazilian legislation.

Brazil’s Minister of Sport, Ana Moser, is adding to the conversation. During a recent Senate meeting of the Committee on Education, Culture, and Sports, she added that the legislation should address possible ways to combat racism in sports and the proper approach to sports betting.

Recently, the Finance and Taxation Committee of the Chamber approved a public hearing with the Minister of Finance, Fernando Haddad, and representatives of bookmakers. The goal is to discuss the minister’s proposed sports betting tax rules.

That will have to happen before any legislation is implemented, but it isn’t on the agenda yet. Haddad is currently in China with President Luiz Lula da Silva exploring stronger ties with the country.