Brazilian authorities have launched a federal investigation into soccer match-fixing, the country’s Ministry of Justice and Public Security announced in a statement on Wednesday.
“The measure was taken this Wednesday after the disclosure that athletes from main division clubs of Brazilian soccer were suspected of collaborating with gangs that would act through sports betting,” the statement read.
This comes a day after the state of Goias accused 16 people of manipulating the results of 13 soccer matches in Brazil’s Serie A and Serie B, as well as the state championship in 2022 and 2023.
According to the Goias Public Prosecutor’s office, one player was given $100,000 (500.000,00 Brazilian Reais) for a red card with $10,000 (40.000 Brazilian Reais) paid to him before the game.
“Faced with evidence of manipulation of results in sports competitions, with interstate and even international repercussions, I am determining today that an inquiry be instituted at the Federal Police for the legally applicable investigations,” the country’s Justice Minister Flavio Dino tweeted.
In a statement, the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) said it’s president Ednaldo Rodrigues has requested the involvement of federal police and that the governing body “will be available to provide all the necessary support.”
It added that there was no possibility that the championships would be suspended and said it had “not yet been officially informed by the authorities about the facts.”
“I have been working together with FIFA, other international entities, as well as Brazilian clubs and Federations, with the aim of combating any and all types of crime, fraud or illicit action within football,” Rodrigues said.
“I defend preventive suspension based on concrete suspicions and even the banishment from the sport in proven cases. Those who commit crimes should not be part of Brazilian and world football.”
As a result of the investigation, some Brazilian soccer clubs have reportedly suspended some of their players pre-emptively.
The Colorado Rapids, a Major League Soccer club in the United States, confirmed that one of their players is connected to the Brazilian match-fixing scandal.
“We are aware of the reports regarding a Colorado Rapids player in connection with unlawful sports gambling,” the club said without naming the player.
“We take matters of this nature seriously and seek at all times to protect the integrity of the game. The player has been removed from all team activities while MLS conducts an investigation into the matter.”
In addition to the Colorado Rapids player, MLS also said one former player was involved in “unlawful sports gambling,” in a statement released on Wednesday.
“The integrity of the game is critical to the league and MLS takes seriously these allegations and any contravention of the league’s integrity rule,” MLS said.
“The current player has been removed from team activities pending an investigation into this matter, which will begin promptly.”