The Colorado Rapids suspended midfielder Max Alves on Wednesday for an alleged connection to an illegal sports gambling plot, according to the Denver Post and ESPN.
Alves, a 21-year-old native of Brazil, is under investigation by prosecutors in his home country for being associated with match-fixing, per the reports. One of those matches reportedly was a Rapids game, and Alves allegedly was paid by match-fixers who asked players to shift their performance to the benefit of sports bettors.
No charges have been brought against Alves yet, as the investigation — which is reportedly centered around 16 people, including seven soccer players — is ongoing.
The Rapids issued a statement Wednesday night that read, “We are aware of the reports regarding a Colorado Rapids player in connection with unlawful sports gambling. We take matters of this nature seriously and seek at all times to protect the integrity of the game. The player has been removed from all team activities while MLS conducts an investigation into the matter.”
According to a report by Brazilian newspaper O Globo, Alves received up to $12,000 from the match-fixers, a payment that correlated to a yellow card that Alves was shown during a match against the Los Angeles Galaxy on Sept. 17, 2022.
Alves is the only player currently competing outside of Brazil who is allegedly involved in the scheme, but former Houston Dynamo defender Zeca is also rumored to be under investigation. According to the report from O Globo, there are also screenshots between Alves and the ringleader of the operation that prove Alves was participating in match-fixing.
Major League Soccer issued a statement Wednesday similar to the Rapids’ statement, acknowledging that a current and former player were under investigation and that the current player was “removed from team activities.”
In 10 matches (seven starts) for Colorado this season, Alves has recorded one goal in 663 minutes of action. He had no goals and one assist in 28 games (nine starts) for the Rapids last season.
–Field Level Media