Football is known as the beautiful game all across the globe… and it garners passion in those millions of people that follow it religiously. However, because of the prevalence and growth of sports betting, things can turn quite ugly.
There are some occasions when people have bet on the underdog… for very generous football odds. Occasionally, their luck might be in and they come out quids in. However, sometimes it’s not luck at all. Match fixing is something that happens across all sports, but none more so than football. Here, we look at some of the most scandalous match-fixing examples in the game…
1: Totonero 1980
This hit the headlines for many reasons – mainly because it involved some of the biggest teams and one of the biggest players in the world and led to the relegation of Lazio and Milan from Serie A.
A journalist uncovered that two lowly greengrocers from Rome worked with two Lazio players who happened to be regulars at their restaurant. The uncovered match-fixing scandal led to jail time for 21 players, owners and officials including Paolo Rossi, who went on to become the top goalscorer in the 1982 World Cup.
2: Marseille Uncrowned
Back in 1993, Marseille was the King of football after winning the Champions League title as well as their fourth Ligue 1 title in a row. However, things were not quite all as they seemed.
They were quickly dethroned after it was uncovered that they had bribed another team to throw a match. The club’s owner, Bernard Tapie, had offered Valencia (who were having financial struggles) to throw their game. The revelation led to Tapie being given a lifetime ban and Marseille being relegated to Ligue 2.
Another dark hour in the history of Italian football and one of the most prolific instances of match-fixing.
In 2006, Italian police confirmed that they had intercepted the phone calls between some of the biggest teams in Italy… and there were conversations about referees and officials working together to get a ‘favourable’ official for their games.
Clubs involved included Lazio, Milan, Fiorentina and Reggina and they were all deducted points and received bans for European competitions.
However, Juventus was the biggest culprit and they were relegated to Serie B and were stripped of two earlier titles – and top players fled the club in droves.
4: What’s In My Drink?
We’re with the Italians again! This shocker happened in 2011 between two Serie C teams, Paganese and Cremonese.
At the start of the game, the Cremonese players looked off form – and some could barely put one foot in front of another. Another player crashed on their way home after the match. An investigation uncovered that the Panganese goalie spiked the opposition’s drinks with tranquilisers. He received a 5-year ban.
5: 79-0 … Really?
There are big score lines and then there’s 79-0. Well, that was apparently the score in a Nigerian second-division game in 2013. The Feeders were winning 7-0 against Akubra FC by halftime. Meanwhile, their rivals were beating their opposition 6-0… and then it went crazy.
In the second half, the Feeders scored 72 goals – winning 79-0. However, their rival ‘the Machine’ only managed to win their game 67-0. With 11 goals, 3 own goals and 4 strikes in 60 seconds, it was obviously looking fishy. All four teams ended up being banned for ten years.
6: A K League Scandal
Back in 2011, South Korean footballer, Choi Sung-Kuk received a lifetime ban. He was one of numerous current and former K League players that were accused of accepting bribes from criminals to manipulate the outcome of games.
He received a 10-month suspended sentence and was banned from playing for any FIFA club in any competition for the rest of his life.
There are so many scandals – and these are just a few. From dodgy Swiss referees and corrupt Belgian managers to players that simply want even more ways to line their pockets. This has been going on for years – and we’re sure more will be uncovered in the future.