There is no question that football is the most followed and loved sport in the world. It continues to provide ecstatic feelings and unmatchable entertainment to its spectators from all around the world. But, there are times when certain moments shocked the football world as various scandals surrounding match fixing erupted.
Just like online casinos such as these sites, betting in football has become big business and over the last few decades numerous of match fixing scandals have cropped out. All these events have sent the spectators wild. Here are the top 10 match fixing scandals in the football history
- Marseille getting stripped
This scandal involved Marseille who won the Ligue 1 and about to play the Champions League Double. They were stripped of the winning tag from Ligue 1 and banned from playing the latter. These came to light after they attempted to bribe their opposition.
When Marseille was about to play against Milan in the Champions League final after they have met Valenciennes in a clash, midfielder Jean Jacques approached the three players from the opposition. The players were promised hefty cash in return to make the game easy' for his team.
But, one of the three players refused to comply with the bribe and informed the matter to the French authorities. As such, the whole scandal was exposed and Bernard Tapie, the club's president was presented with a 2-year prison term. The midfielder was banned from soccer for 2 years.
- Murder of Andres Escobar
Betting can be an ugly aspect of football, and it grew very ugly when Andres Escobar was shot dead after 10 days of Colombia's disqualification from the 1994 FIFA World Cup. Andreas struggled to clear the pass and put the ball in his own net accidentally while trying to kick it to the safe zone.
Such an act failed to impress the Colombian fans and they accused him of doing the act intentionally for match fixing reasons. Ultimately, this led to his death. Initially, his murder was blamed by the ex-coach Francisco Maturana on the internal struggles Colombia faced at that time.
However, the belief changed after the confession came from Castro Munoz, the bodyguard of a drug cartel. He told that Andres Escobar was put to death because the cartel lost bets because of his mistake.
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- Masterminding Totonero
Coined after the term that means illegal gambling, the notorious Totonero scandal of 1980 has resulted in a series of bans on various players soon after the Italian authorities discovered an attempt to fix matches. These were masterminded by Alvaro Trinca, a 45-year-old restaurateur and Massimo Cruciano, a 32-year-old greengrocer.
This restaurant was the place frequently visited by the Lazio players. That was the place where things began to hatch in a large plot that resulted in a series of bans against 20 players along with 2 managers.
The collection of bans totaled to over 50 years. The prominent among them was the star of a World Cup, Paolo Rossi, and with leading clubs like Lazio and Milan relegated to Serie B. The scandal unraveled when the two persons ran out of money to keep the betting going.
- The Bundesliga scandal
There were lots of scandals on Germany's top football line over the years. This includes Hertha Berlin giving illegal payments to the players to gain a competitive advantage in the year 1965, and more than 50 players, officials, and members being fined or suspended for fixing matches in 1971.
With numerous scandals around, the one that grabbed attention was when Robert Hoyzer, a second division referee along with several managers, players, and officials were found out to be working with an experienced crime group.
On top of that, the scandal came when Germany was preparing to host the 2006 FIFA World Cup. It came to notice later that Hoyzer did a major part of his dirty works in lower-division football matches.
- Austria vs West Germany
Nor punishments or investigations were ordered after the tournament was over, which suggests that it was possibly one of the notorious incidents of match fixing in the history of football. The matches in question were Austria and West Germany that was a part of the World Cup 1982 edition.
In the most prestigious and biggest competition in football, both West Germany and Austria knew that a win of 1-0 for the latter would take both the teams through the knockout stage. In the process, Algeria would be eliminated from the tournament.
After Germany scored within the 10th minute, both teams were just playing with no further attacks. This way, both teams got qualified. A formal protest was done by the Algerian Football Association, but no action was taken. This incident is the reason why final group matches are played simultaneously now.
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In 2006, Italian football was rocked to the core. The Italian police intervened in some of the biggest clubs in the country and intercepted their phone calls only to find out that these clubs were involved in the process of selecting the officials for the matches to their advantages.
The clubs include Lazio, Milan, Fiorentina, and Juventus. This scandal was not taken lightly by the authority. Juventus were degraded to the second division with deducted points and stripped of their Serie A 2005 and 2006 titles.
Luciano Moggi, who was the club's director, was banned from soccer and given a prison sentence of 5 years. The other directors from their respective clubs received similar punishments with lesser impact. Italian football has fully recovered from this incident, and Juventus once again regained the top position of Serie A
- Spiked water bottles
It was when Cremonense met Paganese in the Italian third division match that things started getting worse as players were feeling lethargic. One of them almost crashed his car on his way home and struggled to stay awake.
Later it came out as breaking news that Marco Paolini, the goalkeeper spiked the water bottles of his own team with tranquilizers to fix the match so as to relieve himself out of his gambling debts.
As a result of this, Marco Paolini was banned from playing football for the next five years. Some of the Italian investigators believe that the incident was linked to one of the notorious godfathers' of match fixing, the disgraced Dan Tan from Singapore.
- Goal crazy Nigerian second division
There were a lot of stakes involved for the two Nigerian clubs during the second division season. These were the Police Machine and Plateau United Feeders, who were looking for a more professional league.
The Feeders were 7-0 at half time opposite to Akurba FC, and Machine were 6-0 against Babayaro FC. That's when the game turned into a ridiculous show. During the second half, the Feeders scored 72 and claimed 79-0 win.
Machine, on the other hand, could manage a victory with 67-0. However, the Nigerian Football Association wasn't impressed by these events. They banned all the four teams for the next ten years because of this shameful incident.
- Ding managed to get his dong, somehow
Now, this one is the ultimate. In the year 2011, nightclub owner Eric Ding met with Ali Sabbagh, who was a Lebanese referee at a Beirut cafeacute;. Sabbagh later confessed that Ding influenced him by saying that he can make a lot of money within a year that he won't be able to make in ten years by working as an official.
Yes, you got that right. The process of earning quick money was to fix matches. Other than money, Sabbagh was provided with his personal choice between Asian or Colombian prostitutes free of cost. The incident happened when he went to Singapore to conduct an AFC Cup match between East Bengal and Tampines in 2012.
However, before the match began, he was arrested by CPB (Corrupt Practices Bureau) along with two of his associates. He was sentenced 6-month prison and life ban from FIFA. Eric Ding was jailed for 3 years for masterminding the organized crime.
- FIFA World Cup corruption scandal
Because of its profitability and popularity, international football has been affected by bribery and corruption for a long time. But, the biggest football scams of all times happened in 2015 when lots of FIFA officials, both former and present were taken into custody by the FBI on various charges.
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The incident was a big slap and huge embarrassment on the face of the game and its spectators. FIFA was accused of harboring around $100 million from different countries that wanted to host the World Cup. The US bank accounts were used to complete transactions.
This was perhaps one of the biggest scandals, one that brought a lot of shame on part of the governing authorities and a breach of trust from the football enthusiasts who were disheartened to learn about the irresponsibility of running the game.
Stop Match Fixing
It is evident that there isn't much news regarding the arrests. But, when you look back to these events, you can find out how these incidents have shaped the sport and how the organizations have learned from the damaging incidents to make the game even better.