A Brazilian player was banned from any football activity by a sports court in the country on Monday, in a first conviction related to a match-fixing scandal in Brazil. Former midfielder of Vila Nova (2nd division), Marcos Vinicius Alves Barreira known as "Romario", aged 21, was also fined 25,000 reals (nearly 5,000 euros), according to the judgment published on the website of the Superior Court of Sports Justice (STJD).
His lawyer, Odair Meneses, has indicated that he intends to appeal. Another player who played at Vila Nova, Gabriel Domingos, 22, was sentenced by the same court to 720 days of suspension and a fine of about 3,000 euros. Both players were previously sacked by their clubs.
About fifteen matches concerned
These are the first two convictions in the match-fixing case that is shaking Brazil, a country where football is king and where online betting is booming. This scandal concerns to date about fifteen matches of the first and second divisions. The prosecutor's office of the state of Goias, which has opened an investigation, suspects a criminal network of "juicy profits" on betting sites.
At least 25 people, including fifteen players, are suspected. And all this may be just the "tip of the iceberg," warned a prosecutor in charge of the investigation. It started, in November 2022, from a report from the president of the Vila Nova de Goias club, Hugo Jorge Bravo, on suspicions of three match-fixing.
The omnipresence of betting sites as sponsors
This manager had claimed that one of his players, Romario, was involved in a pact with bettors to cause a penalty on the last day of the championship, in exchange for $ 30,000. He had received an advance of 2,000 dollars but had not been able to honor the pact, not having been retained for the meeting. "Everything came out because the stunt didn't work," Bravo added.
The other player sentenced on Monday, Gabriel Domingos, was accused of also being involved in this corruption pact. Online betting is allowed in Brazil, but its regulation is still unclear. To date, 19 of the 20 first division clubs are sponsored by sports betting sites.