ColombiaOne.comColombia newsMurder of Football Club President in Bogota Probably Related to Sports Betting

Murder of Football Club President in Bogota Probably Related to Sports Betting


Murder of president of Bogota football Club Sports Betting
Murder of Edgar Páez, president of a football club in Bogota, would be related to sports betting – Credit: Capture Twitter @TigresCol

The shooting death of the president of the Tigres FC football club in Bogota last Saturday is believed to be related to sports betting, according to initial investigations in Colombia. Edgar Paez was ambushed by two motorcycle gunmen on the afternoon of Saturday, September 23, just before the club’s match, of which he was the president and majority shareholder. He was leaving Techo Stadium in his car with his daughter, who was also a shareholder in the second division Colombian football club.

The national football community, including teams and the Federation, has condemned the murder and expressed solidarity with the victim’s family.

Sports Betting, Again

Although the motive for the crime has not yet been confirmed, Colombian authorities are working on the hypothesis that sports betting may have been the reason. This case brings to mind the most widely publicized and sadly remembered murder: that of footballer Andrés Escobar (1967-1994), a member of the Colombian national team who was killed in Medellin in 1994 after Colombia’s elimination from the U.S. World Cup.

The judicial investigation at the time concluded that the motive behind the murder of the Antioquian footballer was the massive losses incurred by some major drug traffickers due to Colombia’s defeat in the World Cup. The elimination came after an own goal against the host team, a tragic and memorable image where the player accidentally scored against his own team in a misguided attempt to clear the ball from his own goal area.

The Shadow of Dirty Money in Football

The president of Tigres FC may have been murdered for similar reasons. Paez, known for his ties to Bogota’s football scene, began his professional career in the now-defunct Colombian intelligence agency (DAS), where he started his career in the world of security. Later, he worked as an investigator for the Office of the Attorney General. According to El Espectador newspaper, Paez had served a 7-month prison sentence for involuntary manslaughter.

In 2004, he ventured into the world of football as a shareholder of Independiente Santa Fe, during Eduardo Méndez’s presidency. This was a time when, according to El Tiempo newspaper, narco money was prevalent in Colombian football. The Colombian newspaper’s report stated, “It was pointed out from the United States that (Julio) Lozano Pirateque, Claudio Javier Silva Otalora, and (Luis) Caicedo Velandia had ties to the capital’s football team and the laundering of 1.5 billion dollars. The mechanism allegedly involved the fake sale of emeralds and investments by frontmen who infiltrated the club.”

The three individuals mentioned in that report all met violent ends: Silva was killed in November 2022 in Barrios Unidos; Caicedo Velandia, a former member of the police investigative unit (CTI), was also shot in the Paulo VI area in July 2021, and Juan Francisco Caicedo Velandia, Luis’s brother, was also a homicide victim on February 10 of this year.

According to the same investigative journalism, these murders are part of a mafia vendetta in Bogota that has already killed 15 people. However, the specific motives behind Páez’s murder are still under investigation, and his family has stated that no threats to his life had been received.

Tigres FC Presidency

Edgar Paez served as the president of Tigres FC, a second-division Colombian club, since 2016. In his first year in office, he achieved Tigres’ historic promotion to the first division of Colombian football. Although the club retained its top-flight status for only a year, fans remember the achievement associated with the new owner of the club, Edgar Paez.

The president was the majority shareholder of the Bogota-based club and had close ties to the first-division club Independiente Santa Fe. Additionally, his daughter, who was with him in the car when he was murdered and was unharmed, was also involved as a shareholder in the club.

Condolences from the Colombian Football Community

The murder of the sports executive has been met with condemnation and expressions of solidarity from the Colombian football community. Among the first to react was the Colombian Football Federation, which expressed its condolences on social media.

“The Colombian Football Federation and its Executive Committee regret the passing of Mr. Edgar Paez, president of Tigres FC Club. From Colombian football, we express our condolences and stand in solidarity with the family, friends, and loved ones. Rest in Peace.”

Similarly, the Colombian Football League (Dimayor) expressed its condemnation in a statement by its president, Fernando Jaramillo. “I am deeply saddened by the passing of my friend and colleague Edgar Paez, ‘el chato,’ with whom I shared many personal and professional experiences during these years. He was always distinguished by his respect for his friends, his strong but respectful positions, and the love he had for the sport that we all passionately share: football. ‘El chato’ was one of those fighters, warriors, and loyal individuals who conveyed his passion for football in every role he played. We will miss him dearly,” said the president of Dimayor.

Likewise, his club, Tigres FC, expressed its repudiation of the crime and paid tribute to its president with a video on its social media platforms, highlighting the promotion achieved seven years ago, with a final image of Edgar Paez.

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