Fluminense s coach Fernando Diniz (C), Fluminense s Argentine forward German Cano (L), and Fluminense s Colombian midfielder Jhon Arias celebrate their victory at the end of the Copa Libertadores group stage first leg football match between Fluminense and River Plate, at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on May 2, 2023. Photo: AFP
Athletico said on its social media channels that 20-year-old left-back Pedrinho and 22-year-old midfielder Bryan Garcia had been suspended “preemptively" until the end of the investigation by prosecutors in the state of Goias.
Cruzeiro, Fluminense and America made the same decisions about 29-year-old midfielder Richard, 23-year-old defender Vitor Mendes, and 37-year-old right-back Nino Paraiba, respectively.
None of players have responded to a request for comment from The Associated Press. They also haven't commented on social media.
Brazilian media raised concerns about the performances of all five players in matches from the 2022 season, and added they could be targets of the “Maximum Penalty” probe that began in February.
Prosecutors did not confirm to the AP that these four players are under investigation but reported in a statement that 16 people will stand trial in the case, including seven other players.
One of the players on that list, Santos defender Eduardo Bauermann, was suspended by his club on Tuesday. TV Globo published several conversations during which the player allegedly admits involvement in the scheme.
The probe initially targeted matches from last season in Brazil's top flight but has expanded into second-division matches. Prosecutors said some of the athletes were paid between 50,000 and 100,000 Brazilian reals ($10,000 to $20,000) to get booked or give penalties to their rivals.
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