Lucas Paqueta defended by friends with West Ham star dubbed 'innocent' amid threat of 10-year football ban

Lucas Paqueta

Lucas Paqueta was a key player for West Ham last season

Jack Otway

By Jack Otway

Published: 29/05/2024

- 10:38

The Hammers star has faced allegations of spot-fixing

Lucas Paqueta has been defended by friends from Brazil after being accused of spot-fixing.

The West Ham star, who was a key player for David Moyes at the London Stadium last season, has been accused by the FA of picking up deliberate yellow cards in matches against Leicester, Aston Villa, Leeds and Bournemouth in 2022 and 2023.

Paqueta strongly denies the allegations and said on X: I am extremely surprised and upset that the FA has decided to charge me

"For nine months, I have cooperated with every step of their investigation and provided all the information I can.

Lucas Paqueta

Lucas Paqueta could be banned for 10 years with the West Ham star accused of spot-fixing


"I deny the charges in their entirety and will fight with every breath to clear my name.

"Due to the ongoing process, I will not be providing any further comment."

And friends from Paqueta in Brazil have now defended the West Ham star, insisting he's innocent.

Childhood friend Manuel Eduardo told the Daily Mail: "Lucas Paqueta is innocent until proven otherwise.

"I know his character, I know his family, I've met everyone in his family, and he has never had these problems.

"He trained with me every day not long ago at the municipal football club on the other side of the island.

"I took over from his grandfather, who had to stop due to medical reasons, and I continued with the school's work. Through this, I got to know Lucas better.

"Later he went to Flamengo, training every day. He hardly ever came to Paqueta, but when he did, the first thing he did was put on the club's strip, which was kept at his grandfather's house, and go to the municipal club."

Eduardo added: "It's sad, but hopefully it [a ban] won't happen.

"Hopefully, he proves his innocence to get out of this.

"His family has always been of good character, good honest people who helped Paqueta.

"And he always puts the name of Paqueta ahead of everything, that's why he kept this name."

Islander Victor Castro has also defended Paqueta, saying: "I think there are many things going on, especially in the world he lives in football, in fame, that there might be external things that happened and they ended up using his name in a way that he didn't know about.

"It's not his profile, it's not his character.

"Regarding the punishment, I think it's very severe considering his age in football now, which is a short career.


Lucas Paqueta

Lucas Paqueta has been accused of picking up deliberate yellow cards for West Ham


"I want him to get out of this as soon as possible. We need him. Brazilian football needs him."

And Neuza Maria, another local, is adamant Paqueta will be able to clear his name and resume his career in football.

"We're rooting for everything to be resolved as quickly as possible because he's an excellent boy," said Maria.

"I call him a boy because I've known him since he was little. He's our boy here in Paqueta, and we have a lot of affection for him.

"We want him to strive for success in life more and more and to represent us very well out there.

Lucas Paqueta

Lucas Paqueta denies the allegations against him with the West Ham star eager to clear his name


"About the possible punishment, Lucas Paqueta will not be convicted. We will cheer a lot, pray a lot because he's a boy who has a lot of strength, a lot of determination. He's an excellent player.

"He is a product of our island, and God willing, he will not be convicted and will not be away for 10 years.

"We are rooting for him, we believe in his honesty, and everything will work out.

"Everything will be resolved in the best possible way, and he will continue to represent us more and more."

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