Brazilian Congress Initiates an Investigation Into the Football Match-Fixing Scandal

It is the third inquiry into allegations of misconduct by football players who reportedly ensured they received cautions and conceded penalties in return for money.

On Wednesday, the lower chamber of Brazil's Congress announced the launch of an investigation into the football match-fixing scandal that has shaken the South American country. Players, managers from gambling companies, and club executives will testify during the congressional investigation, which is expected to span a minimum of 120 days.

The scenario also involves the federal police of Brazil and the Goias state district attorney's office, and both organisations will be allowed to make use of the conclusions of Congress in their own inquiries.

Result of the initial investigation

In a meeting on Tuesday, the 34 parliamentarians who will participate in the investigation are going to decide on their initial demands for witnesses and evidence.

Players were paid between $10,000 and $20,000 to take part in particular activities, such as obtaining yellow cards and giving away penalty kicks, according to the results of the Goias attorney's office's initial inquiry. Then alleged crooks would make money from such gambling websites.

Statement from a Congressman

"Our intention is to do away with these crimes in Brazilian football, which hurt the passion of millions of fans," said Congressman Felipe Carreras, as quoted by Sportstar. "This is the biggest scandal of Brazil’s football history. The credibility of our football is in jeopardy. We don’t know whether a given yellow card, a red card, or a penalty was supposed to happen or not."

Carreras added that one of the objectives of the legislative investigation is to provide information for new legislation to control sports betting in Brazil. Those betting firms support a number of top-flight division clubs as sponsors.

Lawmaker De Mello on the issue

The congressional inquiry will be essential for the investigation's visibility, according to former Flamengo chairman and legislator Eduardo Bandeira de Mello.

"This will have an educational effect. Any young athlete who tries to get into a scheme like this will think twice," said de Mello.

One of Flamengo's youth academy products, Max Alves, who made a breakthrough during De Mello's tenure at Flamengo, is also named in the investigation. He currently plays for MLS club Colorado Rapids, who suspended him after the charges were made.

"I am very sad about that. We always had a very affectionate relationship with these players coming from Flamengo’s youth divisions," de Mello said. "All I can do is to hope that his participation was the smallest possible."