How long could Lucas Paqueta be banned for over alleged betting offences?

  • Lucas Paqueta has been charged with alleged breaches of betting regulations
  • West Ham midfielder has been linked with an £85m move to Man City
  • Ivan Toney and Sandro Tonali have received recent bans for breaches of betting rules
Lucas Paqueta has been charged by the FA over alleged betting breaches
Lucas Paqueta has been charged by the FA over alleged betting breaches / ANP/GettyImages

Ahead of a busy summer of transition at the London Stadium, West Ham United have been handed another complication after key midfielder Lucas Paqueta was charged by the FA for alleged breaches of betting regulations.

On the same day that Julen Lopetegui was announced as David Moyes' replacement in the capital, Brazilian playmaker Paqueta was charged with offences pertaining to suspicious alleged betting activity surrounding incidents involving him over the past two seasons.

The attacking midfielder has been linked with a switch to Manchester City in the upcoming transfer window after an £85m deal last summer fell through, but a move to the Etihad is again in jeopardy.

But just what has Paqueta been accused of doing, and what punishment could he face if found guilty?

The alleged betting breaches Lucas Paqueta is charged with

Peter Bankes, Lucas Paqueta
Lucas Paqueta's yellow card at Bournemouth raised suspicions / Henry Browne/GettyImages

Paqueta has been charged with four alleged breaches of FA Rule E5.1 connected to four separate incidents relating to yellow cards he has received over the past two campaigns.

The FA decided to investigate the 26-year-old after suspicious betting activity related to a 94th-minute booking Paqueta received on the opening day of the Premier League season against Bournemouth for pushing Illia Zabarnyi.

Three further incidents during the 2022/23 campaign are being investigated, with Paqueta picking up yellow cards against Leicester City (12 November 2022), Aston Villa (12 March 2023) and Leeds United (21 May 2023).

The FA have suggested that Paqueta intentionally sought yellow cards in order to impact and profit from the betting market.

What have the FA said about the charges?

In a statement regarding the charges, the FA said: "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 12 November 2022; Aston Villa on 12 March 2023; Leeds United on 21 May 2023; and AFC Bournemouth on 12 August 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."

How has Lucas Paqueta responded to the charges?

Speaking on social media about the charges, Paqueta vehemently denied any wrongdoing. The former Lyon star stated: "I am extremely surprised and upset that the FA has decided to charge me.

"For nine months, I have 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 be providing any further comment."

West Ham's reply to the charges read: “Lucas categorically denies the breach and will continue to robustly defend his position. The club will continue to stand by and support the player throughout the process.”

What punishment could Lucas Paqueta face?

Ivan Toney
Ivan Toney was banned for eight months for betting breaches / Eddie Keogh/GettyImages

Paqueta and West Ham supporters may be nervously looking at recent punishments handed to Brentford striker Ivan Toney and Newcastle United midfielder Sandro Tonali for their betting breaches.

Toney was banned for eight months in May 2023 after admitting to 232 breaches of the FA's betting rules, while also being fined £50,000. He initially wasn't allowed to train with his Brentford teammates during that period but did return to the practice pitches in September.

Tonali was also handed a ten-month ban - which he is still serving - back in October 2023 for betting on matches during his time in Italy, The midfielder was then handed an extra two-month suspended sentence in early May for further breaches upon arriving in England.

Paqueta's punishment - if found guilty - could be a far lengthier ban, given the charges imply that he spot-fixed four separate bookings in order for others to win guaranteed money from bookmakers. The Times suggest a ban of anywhere between six months to a lifetime could be possible, with the latter outcome supported by a Guardian report revealing West Ham's extreme concern at the situation.