COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (AP) — The Colorado Rapids played their first match Saturday night since attacker Max Alves was suspended by Major League Soccer after Brazil announced a national investigation into match fixing.
While MLS and the Rapids did not name Alves in statements announcing the suspension, the player availability report on the league’s website listed him as “removed from team activities” ahead of a 2-1 loss at home to the Philadelphia Union.
Alves, 21, played in 10 of the Rapids’ 11 games this season, with seven starts. He scored one goal.
Rapids midfielder Connor Ronan said the drama surrounding Max’s suspension did not impact the team.
“We’re professionals,” he said. “We had a meeting when it came out. We moved on.”
Rapids coach Robin Fraser told reporters at training Thursday he had no comment beyond a team statement released Wednesday.
“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 statement said.
Brazil Justice Minister Flavio Dino announced that authorities would launch a national investigation into soccer match-fixing and the probe could have “international repercussions.”
Several players from Brazilian clubs were suspended as well as Alves, who was signed by the Rapids in January 2022. Brazilian prosecutors did not identify the players.
Dino’s announcement came amid a sprawling investigation in the Brazilian state of Goias. Prosecutors allege that some of the athletes were paid between $10,000 to $20,000 to get booked or give penalties to their rivals.
Brazil’s justice minister said on Twitter that the country’s federal police will open a probe “due to the evidence of match-fixing in sports events, with inter-state and international repercussions.”
The Brazilian newspaper O Globo reported that Alves was among the players targeted in the investigation. Alves has not commented on the case but his agent, Regis Oliveira, suggested in an interview with the newspaper Tribuna de Minas that Alves would cooperate with authorities. Alves “won’t hide,” Oliveira said.
The Brazilian soccer confederation said in a statement it had asked the government to investigate so it can “centralize all the information about the cases under investigation.”