Brazil’s Senate creates commission to investigate alleged soccer match-fixing

Brazil's Senate on Wednesday installed a commission to investigate soccer match-fixing. (AP/Leo Correa, File)

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil’s Senate on Wednesday installed a commission to investigate soccer match-fixing amid allegations from the top shareholder of a team that dominated the national league throughout most of last year but failed to clinch the championship.

The 11 senators chosen for the commission will probe accusations involving players, team owners and sports betting companies.

John Textor, an American executive whose Eagle Football runs Rio de Janeiro-based club Botafogo, will be the first person summoned to testify, according to Sen. Jorge Kajuru, who will preside over the commission.

Botafogo last year squandered a 13-point lead to lose the national league title and finish in fifth place. Textor has accused defending champion Palmeiras of being the beneficiary of a match-fixing scheme.

Palmeiras has denied the accusation and filed a complaint against Textor at the country’s top sports court. Other teams likewise threatened legal action.

“Brazil wants to know what proof he has, what recordings he has,” Kajuru said. “It will really be the bombastic start of this investigation.”

Kajuru, a former sports journalist, previously said that if Textor’s accusations are false then he should be banned from soccer.

Starting next week, the committee will convene every Wednesday and soccer great Romário, now a senator, will be its rapporteur.

“The people here are people who definitively want to clean everything up, want to open the black boxes, let’s say, of the betting companies that exist in our country, understand and know them better,” Sen. Romário said.

The commission has a six-month mandate.

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