West Ham United's Lucas Paqueta charged by FA with spot-fixing by deliberately trying to get booked

A Premier League star has been accused by the FA of spot-fixing by allegedly deliberately getting booked by referees in several fixtures over two seasons.

West Ham United midfielder Lucas Paqueta has been charged with four breaches 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 Bournemouth on 12 August 2023.

It is alleged 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", the FA said in a statement.

Paqueta, 26, said he was "extremely surprised and upset" that he had been charged - and said he "denied any charges in their entirety and will fight with every breath to clear my name".

The Brazil international has also been charged with two breaches of FA Rule F3 over alleged failures to comply with their requests for information and documents.

But he said: "For nine months, I have co-operated with every step of their investigation and provided all the information I can."

The FA launched an investigation after suspicious betting patterns were noticed around a booking he received in added time in the 1-1 draw at Bournemouth on the opening day of the season last August, Sky Sports said.

Read more from Sky News:
Masked rapper who claims to be footballer announces first gig
Mauricio Pochettino leaves Chelsea after one season

The bets were placed from accounts registered in Paqueta, an island off Rio de Janeiro. They were not placed by the player.

The bets were reported to the International Betting Integrity Association, which alerted FIFA and the FA.

Paqueta, who has three years left on his West Ham contract, was booked nine times for club and country last season. In the 2023-24 campaign, he was shown 15 yellow cards in 45 games for West Ham and Brazil, Sky Sports said.

West Ham pledged to stand by their player.

A club spokesperson said: "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 and will make no further comment until the matter is concluded."

Paqueta has until 3 June to respond to the charges, the FA said.

Last summer, an £80m bid for Paqueta from Premier League champions Manchester City, was called off amid the FA betting investigation.