In February, when commenting in this space on the football betting and manipulation scandal, I remembered the time when the goalkeeper Manga, after an accusation without proof by the bicheiro Castor de Andrade, jumped the wall of Botafogo with João Saldanha behind him shooting at the high. A chanchada scene from Atlantis. Today we live in a gangster movie.
Despite that being a naive time —in which it was not even imagined that it would be possible to plan, in zap messages, the collection of a penalty kick out—, in the stands there was always an atmosphere of distrust. With each doubtful bid, the fans denounced the possibility of the combination shouting “It’s marmalade!”.
The referees —who so far have not been caught colluding with the gambling gangs— were the main target of conjecture. Current protagonists, the players were more or less spared from suspicion, perhaps because of their identification with the colors of the club they defended throughout most of their career. On the field, trickery was made up of unbelievable plays — striker Dé Aranha using an ice stone to divert the ball’s trajectory and deceive the defender.
It is flagrant that, at the heart of the scheme, the knack survives, the law of taking advantage and money in everything, the mania of not considering serious what would be minor infractions. In the messages there are no categorical offers to play to lose; “only” forcing a yellow card, conceding a corner kick, committing a penalty, as if it didn’t matter. The futile way of enticing shows why fraud worked so well here.
In addition to the jeitinho, there was the Brazilian way. The scenario that puts football’s credibility at risk was predictable with the legalization of betting sites under the Temer government and their multiplication under Bolsonaro. A market that strangely established itself operating outside the country, without regulation and without paying taxes.
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