Paraguay Football Owner Linked To Betting Payments

The governing body of Paraguay’s football demands a halt to betting on its matches after the disclosure that one of its team owners is deeply connected to local sports betting operator Aposta.la.

The Asociación Paraguaya de Fútbol (APF) executive council voted this week to ban the use of its trademarks and logos by the Aposta.la

sports betting monopoly and the APFis prepared to go to court to enforce control of what it considers as its intellectual property.

Local media quoted Juan Alberto Acosta, chairman of the Guaraní First Division team, saying that the APF wanted to make sure that “betting on our football does not happen anymore,” and the APF would take legal action if the local bookmaker failed to comply with this “request.” APF vice-president Carlos Sosa Jovellanos added that the two APF First Division teams, Cerro Porteño and current Olimpia champions, were the two APF first division teams.

The apparently rash action of the APF followed an investigative report on Olimpia president Marco Trovato (pictured), who also owns Fastpay, an electronic wallet that is the exclusive online payment processor for the Aposta.la local sports betting site.

Aposta.la is run by Daruma Sam S.A., which was controversially awarded a five-year betting monopoly last year, despite protests from other local bookmakers that Daruma Sam’s tender was rigged by the government and gambling regulator.

The APF is a member of FIFA’s global governing body, and the code of conduct of FIFA specifically prohibits its members from having “any interests, either directly or indirectly … in entities, companies, organisations, etc. that promote, broker, arrange or conduct betting, gambling, lotteries or similar events or transactions connected with football matches and competitions.”

In view of Trovato’s association with Aposta.la, the chairmen of 10 of the 12 clubs in the top division of the APF signed a letter calling for an investigation into all major tournaments over the past two years “to identify behaviours that could be linked to possible infractions.”  To date, Trovato’s response has been to post enigmatic Bible quotations via his personal Twitter account, while also poking at his own website.