The Football Association (FA) has undertaken a clandestine five-month investigation into Brazilian footballer Lucas Paqueta, centered around concerning bets involving his bookings during West Ham matches.
The investigation was launched after an integrity alert was triggered by wagers on Paqueta being booked during the Bournemouth game, which resulted in a last-minute booking in a 1-1 draw. This booking at Bournemouth, where Paqueta shoved Illia Zabarnyi and displayed dissent, led to the acceleration of the previously undisclosed probe and caused the collapse of an £85 million transfer deal with Manchester City.
The FA’s focus includes three specific bookings: one for a late challenge against Aston Villa, the second for fouling Leeds’ Crysencio Summerville, and the third for the incidents at Bournemouth. The Bournemouth incident drew little attention at the time but has now come under intense scrutiny. The bets under investigation were traced back to accounts associated with individuals linked to Paqueta, many of whom are from Paqueta Island near Rio de Janeiro.
Despite the investigation, Paqueta remains confident in his innocence, denying any knowledge of the suspicious betting activities. West Ham is also supporting the player, as demonstrated by his recent appearance in the team’s victory over Chelsea.
However, the club has requested the FA to delay a formal interview with Paqueta to allow more time for preparation. Both West Ham and the FA have declined to comment further on the ongoing investigation.