MLS star Max Alves accused of match-fixing scheme and removed from Colorado Rapids activities amid alleged unlawful sports gambling probe

Max Alvers Colorado Rapids 2022-23
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The Colorado Rapids have suspended a player, reported to be Max Alves, as MLS launches an investigation into alleged unlawful sports gambling.

ESPN has reported that that Rapids midfielder Alves is accused of forming part of a group that received payment for fixing events during competitive matches. He is alleged to have tried to recruit Houston Dynamo player Zeca into the scheme, with MLS announcing that it will be looking into the accusations – without officially naming those involved.

A statement from MLS reads: “Major League Soccer is aware of the reports regarding alleged involvement by a current player and a former player in connection with unlawful sports gambling. The integrity of the game is critical to the league and MLS takes seriously these allegations and any contravention of the league's integrity rules. The current player has been removed from team activities pending an investigation into this matter, which will begin promptly.”

The Rapids added in a statement of their own: “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.”

Alves has not been criminally charged as yet, but authorities from Brazil’s Public Ministry in the state of Goias have charged 16 people – with seven players included within that group. Brazilian news outlet O Globo claims that Alves was paid 45,000 Brazilian Reais to pick up a yellow card during a meeting with the LA Galaxy in September 2022 – with said caution collected within 60 seconds of his introduction as a second-half substitute in that contest.

Alves, who joined the Rapids from Flamengo in January 2022, is said to have received around $12,000 in total from the gambling syndicate in question. He has yet to issue a comment on the accusations.

The United States is dealing with a wave of gambling controversies after the legalization of mobile betting in many states in recent years. The NFL's Detroit Lions and NCAA's Iowa Hawkeyes are among the prominent organizations implicated in illicit activity.