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West Ham Midfielder Faces FA Sanctions for Deliberate Bookings

West Ham midfielder Lucas Paqueta has been charged by the Football Association for allegedly getting booked deliberately "for the improper purpose of affecting the betting market".

The four charges relate to a Premier League game against Leicester City on 12 November in 2022, plus 2023 fixtures against Aston Villa on 12 March, Leeds United on 21 May and Bournemouth on 12 August.

 The 26-year-old Brazil international had been under investigation since last summer over suspicious betting patterns.

An FA statement said: "It's alleged that he [Paqueta] 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."

Paqueta, who joined West Ham from Lyon for an initial £36.5m in August 2022, said he was "extremely surprised and upset" by the charges.

"For nine months, I have co-operated with every step of their investigation and provided all the information I can. I deny all the charges in their entirety and will fight with every breath to clear my name," he added.

Paqueta has also been charged with "two breaches of FA Rule F3 in respect of alleged failures to comply pursuant to FA Rule F2", which relates to providing information and documents.

The charges came on the same day the Hammers confirmed the appointment of Julen Lopetegui as their new head coach following the departure of David Moyes.

A West Ham statement said: "The club will continue to stand by and support the player throughout the process."

Paqueta, who has been picked in Brazil's squad for the Copa America next month, has until 3 June to respond to the charge of "misconduct in relation to alleged breaches of FA Rules E5 and F3" subject to any request for an extension.

While this case will be dealt with on its own merits, Paqueta could be facing a lengthy ban if a breach is proven.

In 2022 Stratford Town defender Kynan Isaac was banned for 10 years for his part in spot-fixing during an FA Cup tie in which it was alleged he deliberately got booked as part of a betting scheme with friends.

The games FA charges relate to

West Ham’s 0-2 home results to Leicester on 12 November 2022.