Grêmio player Ferreira under fire after posting wager on his own team

Grêmio Stadium
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The imminent launch of a regulated sports betting market in Brazil is causing multiple debates from different sides of the local government and the industry, while it has also increased the visibility of athletes being involved in betting, something that is generally banned.

Aldemir dos Santos Ferreira, a soccer player for the Brazilian team Grêmio Foot-Ball Porto Alegrense, is the most recent athlete to be part of the controversy over the regulation of the industry in Brazil. The Brazilian national is now under the spotlight for promoting a bet on his social media accounts that involved his own team.

This past weekend, Ferreira published a screenshot that has since been deleted showing a betting slip for the Grêmio match against Caxias for the first leg of the Campeonato Gaúcho final.

In the screenshot, it can be seen that Ferreira bet approximately $100 on his team’s win. He also added a link that redirected people to the sportsbook Esportes da Sorte, one of the team’s main sponsors.

However, both the sportsbook and the player’s agent confirmed that the screenshot was part of a deal to advertise the brand for which Ferreira received money, and not actually a real bet.

Promotional bet is a violation of both FIFA and CBF rules

Both FIFA and the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) prohibit the participation of soccer players in betting and consider this activity an “illegal act.”

In fact, Article 65 of the CBF’s General Regulations for Competitions says that “encouraging or facilitating” tools for people to bet on soccer matches in which they’re involved is also a prohibited act.

“To avoid match-fixing or manipulation in general during the matches, the behavior of players or every person who directly or indirectly influences the outcome of the matches will be considered illegal,” the CBF’s rule says.

Additionally, it includes different types of conduct that are also banned, such as “giving or receiving payments or other benefits that could discredit players or soccer.”

Despite being injured and missing the match, Ferreira’s act could be considered improper under this article and could be sanctioned by FIFA with a fine of at least $110K as well as a ban on taking part in any football-related activity for at least two years.

In the event the CBF or FIFA consider it appropriate to review Ferreira’s actions, he could be temporarily suspended pending resolution, as happened to English defender Kieran Trippier in December 2020 for alleged breaches of the sports betting ban.

As reported by local outlet Globo, Grêmio carried out a workshop for its players and employees earlier this week after the player publicly apologized – although his message was then deleted.

Grêmio’s statement

The team that currently plays in Brazil’s top division issued a statement in which it assured that “in order to preserve the transparency of its processes and the ethical and moral values of the institution,” it is taking all the necessary measures around Ferreira and the club’s sponsor’s actions.

Moreover, the club said that it abides by FIFA rules and that is why it issued an internal statement on the “new regulations [around sports betting] that will govern the club”.

“Grêmio is committed to maintaining fairness and to [exercise] broad internal controls so that no practice can be considered as a lack of respect or breach of the current regulations.”

FIFA’s stance on betting

According to Article 27 of the FIFA Code of Ethics, which discusses involvement with betting, gambling, or similar activities, people bound by the Code, such as soccer players, “shall be forbidden from participating in, either directly or indirectly, betting, gambling, lotteries or similar events or transactions related to matches or competitions and/or any related activities.”

The fact that Brazil still doesn’t have a firm regulatory framework doesn’t mean that Ferreira is not subject to these rules, although there could be a legal loophole due to his being injured and missing the match.