The signing of a Brazilian player to Pafos FC has made international headlines for all the wrong reasons, as he has been charged with a match-fixing scandal back home.
As reported by Associated Press, Alef Manga, 28, is accused of accepting a bribe of about $11,000 to get booked in a Brazilian championship match involving his club Coritiba last year.
The player is allegedly involved in a match-fixing ring which shook Brazilian football when revealed late last year.
Manga posted on his social media platforms that he was loaned to Cyprus topflight club Pafos FC.
The player cannot play in Brazil until he stands trial for his involvement in the match-fixing scandal uncovered in November, but the ban does not extend to outside Brazil.
The case, however, does not stop at accusations filed against Manga and other players from the Brazilian league, as local authorities believe an international match-fixing ring is behind fixed games in the country.
AP said the local District Attorney in the province of Goias had conducted a probe, with evidence pointing to a ring with links to the USA, Greek and Lithuanian football leagues.
The investigation by the attorney’s office in the state of Goias showed that some players in Brazil had been offered between $10,000 and $20,000 to perform specific actions, like receiving yellow cards and giving away penalty kicks. Alleged criminals would then profit from betting sites.
A court in Goias has already authorized charges against 31 people accused of participating in the scheme, including 15 football players in Brazil’s first and second divisions.
AP reported that the scandal also led Brazil’s government to issue a provisional decree on July 25 to authorize sports betting and tax companies’ revenues by 18%.
Meanwhile, Cypriot daily Phileleftheros contacted the Cyprus Sports Ethics Committee vice president, Efthymios Efthymiou, who told the outlet it was too soon to comment on the matter.
“Should evidence emerge, we will take action to investigate further,” said Efthymiou.
Phileleftheros also asked for a comment from Pafos FC, with a club official arguing that the player was signed based on his sporting capabilities.
“Should evidence arise that something illegal has taken place, we will comply with authorities’ instructions,” the Pafos official said.
The official declined to give Phileleftheros access to the player claiming there was a language barrier.