Brazil Sports Betting Fraud Focus Picks Up As Soccer Player Accused of Manipulation

Posted on: September 16, 2022, 01:22h. 

Last updated on: September 16, 2022, 04:05h.

A recent soccer game in Brazil is causing an uproar and could lead to criminal charges. The investigation is currently active, but a player’s actions on the field are fueling accusations that match-fixing is out of control.

Sul América v Atlético Amazonense AM
The ball flies over the head of Atlético AM goalkeeper Luiz Antonio. Atlético midfielder Julio Campos (R) kicked it into his own goal, leading to claims of match-fixing. (Image: iGaming Brazil)

Earlier this month, Sul América beat Atlético Amazonense AM in the Series B of the Brazilian Amazon Championship. When an Atlético player scored a goal against his team, all of which was caught on video, alarms started going off.

Now and then, a soccer player may accidentally score their own goal. However, this wasn’t the case this time. The intent and the outcome were intentional, and one player has already been fired.

Sul América was up 3-1 in the waning minutes of its game against Atlético. At that point, midfielder Júlio Campos had some type of meltdown. He received the ball from a teammate, turned toward his goal and fired. He sent the ball over his goalkeeper and into the back of the net.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

Initially, players were slow to react. They didn’t know what to make of it, but the outcome was real. Sul América picked up another goal and would be given the 4-1 victory.

Talk that Campos was participating in some type of match-fixing incident immediately surfaced. It wouldn’t be a case of rigging the outcome, though, as there was no way Atlético could bounce back. A likely alternative would be the total number of goals scored in the game.

However, this may not be the case. The president of Atlético, Henrique Barbosa da Costa, told reporters that he spoke with Campos after the game. The player indicated he was angry about the team’s general performance and the defeat. His actions were a way for him to vent his frustration. But they will cost him more than he could imagine.

Atlético issued a statement in which it chastised Campos for his unsportsmanlike conduct. It will open an internal procedure to investigate the incident.

Meanwhile, the current president of the Amazonas Football Federation (FAF, for its Portuguese acronym), Pedro Augusto, added his statement. At the same time, he opened the door for assistance from sports data companies like Sportradar. Augusto said that the organization follows all games statistically but doesn’t have a system or company to investigate possible manipulation.

However, the FAF already took the matter to Brazil’s Court of Justice for Sports. An investigation could lead to criminal charges.

Corruption in Brazilian Sports a Real Threat

Cases like this are multiplying in Brazil, and the Civil Police of São Paulo is currently investigating possible match-fixing incidents. It has reportedly received numerous complaints from athletes and the Football Federation of São Paulo (SPF, for its Portuguese acronym).

There are currently 11 investigations open involving 17 soccer matches in different leagues. Local media outlet Veja reports that most of the allegations are linked to the suspicion that wagers may have determined the outcome of the games.

In one instance, Sportradar, which provided monitoring services to the FPF, found a high volume of bets on a Chinese betting site. The bets indicated that the game would end with at least three goals.

At the time, this wasn’t a possibility. However, shortly after, the game picked up its second and third goals under questionable circumstances.

Most cases, at least in São Paulo, involve small teams from the minor leagues. However, people linked to the investigations state know that the money circulating in the business is astronomical. They assert that, in Brazil alone, offshore sports betting is worth US$2.9 billion, which can lead to players becoming more than willing to cut a deal for a piece of the action.