why a scandal like the one involving Lucas Paqueta is unlikely in France

why a scandal like the one involving Lucas Paqueta is unlikely in France
why a scandal like the one involving Lucas Paqueta is unlikely in France

The Brazilian Lucas Paqueta, a West Ham player who played for Olympique Lyonnais, is suspected of having intentionally sought to receive yellow cards in the Premier League to direct sports bets. He could be punished very heavily for this. But could he have acted like this in Ligue 1?

For several months, former Olympique Lyonnais player Lucas Paqueta has been facing an investigation by the English Federation into suspicious betting activities. In recent days, the conclusions of the investigations have been published and the FA informs that the player voluntarily took a yellow card four times, between November 2022 and August 2023.

In fact, accounts domiciled in Brazil bet on the option that the player would be warned during certain matches. Very quickly, bookmakers were alerted by this situation. Notably Betway, the main sponsor of the West Ham jersey. According to English media, the player did not fully cooperate with investigators. The former OL completely denies these accusations.

Is this situation possible in France?

“These bets are unfeasible on French soil, they are negative acts,” explains Me Matthieu Escande, lawyer at the Paris bar and specialist in games and betting. In France, bets on so-called negative actions are prohibited; bets “must always relate to an event presenting a sporting issue for the competitors”, says the National Gaming Authority (ANJ). The authority therefore has a “sport list” with bets authorized in all disciplines. “The list of sports competitions open to betting in France effectively protects bettors from the manipulation of sports competitions. French bettors were thus unable to bet on the matches which gave rise to 90% of the most serious global alerts (red notices ) in 2023”, adds the ANJ.

But as several interlocutors point out, there are always smart people, and devious means… In a case like that of Paqueta, or more generally of a bet on a yellow card, a French person who wishes to bet via a site located abroad can access this platform with a VPN. European and international cooperation is therefore very important on this subject. Via the “Copenhagen group”, the ANJ receives alerts. The latter come from operators or associations of operators who transmit them to national platforms and international sports organizations.

What is the role of the “sport list”?

This “sport list” must prevent sporting manipulation. It “prohibits bets that do not call upon the know-how and sporting knowledge of the bettors (color of a player’s socks, even or odd number of goals for example), insofar as the subject of the bet must present a sporting issue”, explains the ANJ. “Normally, you cannot, as a player participating in a sporting competition, bet on yourself. It is a bet on an individual act and especially a negative act, which is a sanction. Betting on cards is not not on the list of bets authorized by the ANJ in France”, adds Me Matthieu Escande.

And continues: “A few years ago, the ‘Betfair’ group wanted to enter French soil. On this site, you can bet against someone and not for someone. The nuance is important. is a negative act. They were not allowed to come to French soil. The card is not an objective criterion, unlike a goal. It is like a beauty contest, the referee can give a card. yellow, a red card… So it’s an arbitration decision.”

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