SAO PAULO (AP) — A Brazilian soccer player who was charged in a recent match-fixing scandal said Monday he is leaving the South American country to play in Cyprus.
Alef Manga, 28, is accused of accepting a bribe of about $11,000 to get booked in a Brazilian championship match involving his club Coritiba last year.
Manga said in his social media channels he was loaned to Cyprus’ first division club Pafos. He cannot play in Brazil until he stands trial for his involvement in the match-fixing scandal that was revealed in November, but the ban does not extend to other countries.
Manga’s contract with Coritiba extends to the end of 2024, and he said he wants to play again for the first-division club based in the southern Brazil city of Curitiba. Two weeks ago, Coritiba suspended him from training as the investigations by Goias state prosecutors moved forward.
Brazilian media reported Pafos will pay 300,000 euros ($330,000) for Manga’s loan so he remains in Cyprus until June of next year.
An investigation by the attorney’s office in the state of Goias showed that some players in Brazil had been offered between $10,000 and $20,000 to perform specific actions, like receiving yellow cards and giving away penalty kicks. Alleged criminals would then profit on betting sites.
The investigation has spread to Brazil’s congress and federal police this year, including about 20 matches of the country’s top flight and second divisions, plus some of local state leagues.
A court in Goias has already authorized charges against 31 people accused of taking part of the scheme, including 15 soccer players in Brazil’s first and second divisions.
A district attorney told The Associated Press in May that the scandal has potential international reach. Local media reported that suspected criminals mentioned having contacts in the United States, Greece and Lithuania.
The scandal led Brazil’s government to issue a provisional decree on July 25 to authorize sports betting and tax companies’ revenues by 18%.
By MAURICIO SAVARESE AP Sports Writer