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"I'm extremely surprised" - West Ham United's Lucas Paqueta reacts after FA confirm betting charge

© Reuters
West Ham United midfielder Lucas Paqueta admits he is "extremely surprised and upset" after being charged by the Football Association with misconduct in relation to alleged betting breaches.

The Football Association has confirmed that West Ham United midfielder Lucas Paqueta has been charged with misconduct in relation to alleged betting breaches.

Paqueta is alleged to have affected the betting market in his native Brazil by intentionally receiving yellow card by referees across four Premier League fixtures.

The allegations first surfaced in August last year when the 26-year-old was under investigation by both FIFA and the FA, and the midfielder was interviewed by the latter before granting them access to his phone.

Paqueta has continuously denied all charges and stated in March that he is "happy to be helping as much as I can" with the investigation.

The FA have now released a statement confirming that the Brazil international has been charged, although they are yet to confirm if and how he will be punished.

West Ham United's Lucas Paqueta pictured on May 28, 2023© Reuters

FA release statement confirming Paqueta charge

An FA statement released on Thursday read: "West Ham United's Lucas Paqueta has been charged with misconduct in relation to alleged breaches of FA Rules E5 and F3.

"The player has been charged with four breaches of FA Rule E5.1 in relation to his conduct in the club's Premier League fixtures against Leicester City on November 12 2022; Aston Villa on March 12 2023; Leeds United on May 21 2023; and AFC Bournemouth on August 12 2023.

"It's alleged that he directly sought to influence the progress, conduct, or any other aspect of, or occurrence in these matches by intentionally seeking to receive a card from the referee for the improper purpose of affecting the betting market in order for one or more persons to profit from betting.

"Lucas Paqueta has also been charged with two breaches of FA Rule F3 in respect of alleged failures to comply pursuant to FA Rule F2.

"The player has until June 3 2024 to provide a response to these charges subject to any request for an extension to this deadline.

"The FA will be making no further comment until the conclusion of this case."

Paqueta "extremely surprised and upset" by FA charge

Paqueta has since taken to Instagram to respond to the FA's charge against him, saying: "I'm extremely surprised and upset to see that the FA have decided to charge me.

"For nine months, I've cooperated with every step of their investigation and provided all the information I can.

"I deny the charges in their entirety and will fight with every breath to clear my name. Due to the ongoing process, I will not provide any further comment".

Prior to the investigation last year, Paqueta was strongly linked with a move to Premier League champions Manchester City, who were reportedly prepared to pay around £80m to sign the midfielder.

A transfer to the Etihad Stadium ultimately failed to materialise and he stayed at West Ham, where he has contributed with eight goals and seven assists in 43 games across all competitions during the 2023-24 season.

It is understood that Man City still hold an interest in Paqueta, who is under contract at the London Stadium until June 2027.

At the time of Paqueta's investigation last year, the midfielder was omitted from the Brazil squad, but he has since been selected as part of a 26-man squad ahead of the nation's 2024 Copa America campaign later this summer.

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