It has been revealed that Benfica are currently being investigated for match-fixing from 2016 to 2020 following the examination of emails by prosecutors.
The Portuguese club have been embroiled in a lot of controversies in recent years, with long-time president Luis Filipe Vieira being forced to resign in the summer of 2021.
He was arrested on charges of tax evasion, aggravated fraud, forgery and money laundering after a civil lawsuit was filed by lawyer and club member Jorge Mattamaouros, who followed through with his promise to drop the charges if Vieira stepped down as president.
Now, he along with every other board member from 2016 to 2020 including current president Rui Costa, who replaced him after serving as vice-president, is now being investigated for fixing matches in that period.
It has been reported by the Portuguese press that the club stands accused of benefitting from several manipulated results. Such accusations stem from hacked emails accessed and examined by prosecutors, which reportedly suggest that they did so on multiple occasions.
Benfica have appeared in court and have publicly confirmed the existence of the investigation, but have said nothing more on the matter.
“Taking into account the news made public, Sport Lisboa e Benfica – Futebol SAD confirms that it appeared in court on January 3, as well as, among others, the members of the Board of Directors from 2016 to 2020 and who are currently in office,” a statement read.
“Benfica SAD will not comment further as the trial is under legal secrecy. Benfica expresses its total willingness to collaborate with the competent authorities, as has always happened up to now.”
If found guilty of match-fixing, the consequences would be considerable, with Juventus being heavily fined, stripped of titles and relegated when suffering such a fate in 2006.
Benfica won eight trophies between 2016 and 2020, including three league titles, so are now at risk of losing a considerable amount of accolades.
What’s more, the individuals under investigation including Costa given his prominent role in that period could be charged and given prison sentences.
It’s also possible that no sporting sanctions will be placed on the club with fines being issued and only individuals being punished by the authorities.