West Ham's Lucas Paquetá charged with betting rule breaches

West Ham midfielder Lucas Paquetá has been charged by England's Football Association (FA) with breaches of betting rules.

The FA charges state that Paquetá tried 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 statement said the breaches relate to three matches from the 2022-23 season, his first in the Premier League with the east London club, and the opening fixture of the 2023-24 campaign.

The games came against Leicester City on Nov. 12, 2022; Aston Villa on March 12, 2023; Leeds United on May 21, 2023; and AFC Bournemouth on Aug. 12, 2023.

Paquetá denied the charges in an Instagram post.

"I am extremely surprised and upset that the FA has decided to charge me," it said. "I have cooperated with every step of their investigation and provided all the information I can.

"I deny the charges in their entirety and will fight with every breath to clear my name. I will not be providing any further comment."

The FA statement noted that Paquetá has until June 3 to formally respond to the charges.

In August 2023, sources told ESPN that the FA was investigating Paquetá over potential breaches. He has continued to play for West Ham during the investigation and was named to the Brazil squad for next month's Copa América.

Paquetá helped West Ham lift the Europa Conference League trophy in his first season at the London Stadium after a £50m move from Lyon in 2022. This season, he registered four goals and six assists as West Ham finished ninth.

West Ham noted the charges in a statement.

"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," they said.

Paquetá has also had spells at AC Milan and Flamengo and was part of Brazil's squad at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Gambling charges have become more common in English football in recent years, with Brentford forward Ivan Toney and Newcastle's Sandro Tonali missing games for breaches of FA rules.