Buenos Aires authorities investigating Copa Argentina game for suspicious betting

Local media reports have suggested that a red card shown during a Copa Argentina match between Boca Juniors and Agropecuario may have been a match-fixing incident. 

The fixture on 10 August saw Agropecuario player Milton Leyendeker handed a red for an aggressive kick injuring Boca’s Exequiel Zeballos, who was taken off the pitch on a stretcher and subsequently given hospital treatment.

According to Argentine news outlet La Nacion, the Criminal, Felony and Misdemeanour Prosecutor’s Office No. 35 has opened an investigation into the incident due to the possibility of illegal betting.

City of Buenos Aires Prosecutor Celsa Ramírez will lead the investigation into the incident, which will focus on bets taken on a Agropecuario player being carded and sent off the pitch within the first 10 minutes of the game, odds of which were around 30/1.

“Prosecutor Ramírez investigates whether there were bets on the fact that there would be an Agropecuario player expelled before 10 minutes of the game played in the province of Salta,” La Nacion reported the Prosecutor’s office as stating. 

“The violent action that ended in Zeballos’s injury – which will keep him inactive for months – occurred six minutes into the first half of the match.”

In support of its investigation, prosecutors have spoken to Argentine football officials, and have requested input from the Judicial Investigation Corps of the City Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Federal Police.

Boca Juniors and Agropecuario are both located in separate leagues, with Boca playing in the top-flight Argentine Primera División – which it has won 34 times – and Agropecuario in the second-tier Primera Nacional.

Additionally, the former is located in the City of Buenos Aires and the latter from the Province of Buenos Aires, which are regulated under separate gambling frameworks, with some operators active in just one whilst others such as bet365 hold dual licences.

This could complicate investigations to some extent, as the match was played in Salta Province – so there may be some barriers concerning which regulations the clubs are bound to. 

Defending himself, Leyendeker was quoted by MARCA as completely denying any involvement in illicit betting activity, citing the rare opportunity of playing against current Copa Argentina title holders Boca Juniors.

“Am I going to leave my team with one less, playing against Boca, in the game that everyone wants to play?” he asserted. 

“I never thought that they were going to expel me. When I made the foul, I didn’t even think that I had hurt him.”

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