John Textor insists he sees signs of referee corruption in Brazil

John Textor insists he sees signs of referee corruption in Brazil

The American tycoon John Textorowner of Botafogo, redoubled this Monday the accusations of corruption against the referees during the Senate commission that investigates the alleged manipulation of results in this sport. Textor called for more transparency from the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) regarding the selection of referees in league matches.

“The CBF should be more transparent about how referees are chosen, how certain pairs of referees, field and VAR, were paired in the same way in more than 20 consecutive matches,” he declared before the senators.

The businessman based his testimony on reports that he himself had commissioned from ‘Good Game’, a French company that monitors matches using technology, and that he promised to share with the representatives in a “secret” session after the public hearing. “The evidence shows how the parties were manipulated and not why,” he said after acknowledging that he has no evidence of money payments.

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Textor pointed to alleged intentional rulings by the referees, such as mistaken offside considerations based on the VAR, but also to “abnormal behaviour” of the players. “The technology (of ‘Good Game’) identifies what normal behavior is in every thousandth of a second, it identifies a certain margin of variation. If the footballer is not acting within that margin, it marks that interaction as abnormal,” he explained.

The businessman went so far as to sow doubts about Botafogo itself, a team that lost in just three months the 13-point lead it had as leader of the Brazilian league in 2023, and said that it was necessary to “look in the mirror” and investigate if there are people inside of the club they “bribed.”

Textor leaves everything in the hands of prosecutors

Textor, who also controls the English Crystal Palace and the French Olympique Lyonnais, stated that the reports are “fully admissible” in Justice and that it is the prosecutors who have to decide what to do. Last December, the Superior Court of Sports Justice already filed a report that he presented, a decision that the businessman attributed to “pressure” from the CBF and the clubs.

Regarding the complaints filed against him by Palmeiras and São Paulo for accusations of irregularities, Textor appeared to partially retract, saying that he did not accuse the clubs’ management of being behind the manipulation.

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