Football has all the ingredients for controversies; it’s popular, and it generates plenty of cash. It’s no wonder then that the beautiful game has its fair share of controversies both on and off the field of play. Among other types of scandals, there have been outrageous handballs, major corruption, match-fixing, and sex scandals. Here are Top 10 football scandals of all time:
10.) Andres Escobar murder
Colombia was eliminated from the 1994 world cup due to an unfortunate Andres Escobar’s own goal. In July 1994, the defender was murdered, and the own goal was believed to have been the motive for the killing.
9.) John Terry’s affair with a compatriot’s wife
John Terry’s affair with Wayne Bridge’s wife shocked the footballing world. Terry and Bridge were thought to be good friends after their time at Chelsea and with the national team. Bridge, then at Manchester City, refused to play for England if Terry was in the team. He also decided to refuse Terry a handshake whenever their teams met.
8.) Ronaldo’s encounter with three transsexual prostitutes
31-year-old Brazilian superstar Ronaldo took three “ladies” to his home. To his surprise, the three prostitutes were transsexual. Things turned ugly soon after the discovery. There was a fight, and the three prostitutes asked for a lot of money to keep the incident silent. Ronaldo’s companions insisted the star was well aware that the three prostitutes had snorted cocaine with them. Ronaldo went into hiding soon after.
7.) Three French football stars and an underage prostitute
Karim Benzema, Franck Ribery, and Sidney Govou were linked with teenage prostitute Zahia Dehar. The footballers claimed they were unaware of Zahia’s age. On her part, the girl said that the stars were nice to her.
6.) 1982 World Cup, unfair elimination of Algeria
Algeria made their FIFA World Cup maiden appearance in 1982. They started well with a win over West Germany. In their final group stage match, Algeria won 3-2 over Chile. West Germany and Austria, both in the same group as Algeria, conspired against Algeria. Their game was being played later, and they knew that a 1-0 Germany win was enough for both sides to advance. West Germany scored the needed goal within the first ten minutes of the match. Austria and West Germany did pretty nothing else after that goal. Today, group-stage final fixtures are today played at the same time.
5.) Marseille 1993
After years of dominating the French top flight football, Marseille became the first French side to be crowned European Champions. In the Champions League final, they defeated AC Milan 1-0. Unfortunately, match-fixing allegations soon marred the victory. Apparently, Marseille’s President Bernard Tapie had bribed Valenciennes FC into throwing a Ligue 1 game. The fixing allowed Marseille to win Ligue 1 without risking its players. Marseille also got enough time to concentrate on the Champions League final.
The consequence was a stripping of the 1992-93 French title, UEFA barred them from participating in the 1993-94 Champions League, and Tapie’s went to jail.
4.) Corrupt Referees, 2002 World Cup in South Korea
South Korea and Japan co-hosted the 2002 world cup. In the second round matches, South Korea defeated Italy 2-1. The referee of the day and Korea’s 12th man on the pitch was Byron Moreno of Ecuador. He disallowed a legitimate Italian goal and controversially sent off Italy’s Francesco Totti.
During the South Korea vs. Spain quarterfinal clash, Gamal Al-Ghandour of Egypt rejected two perfectly fine Spanish goals. The linesmen also called for offside on numerous instances of Spanish attack.
Moreno and Ghandour were forced to retire shortly after. Moreno was convicted of match-fixing and Ghandour for receiving a new car and assisting South Korea to advance.
3.) 2018 and 2022 World Cup Host Selections
On December 2010, FIFA’s Executive Committee selected Russia and Qatar to host the 2018 and 2022 world cup editions respectively. The selections generated a lot of heat soon after. Qatar. Major corruption had influenced the choices.
2.) Calciopoli Scandal (2006)
Telephone interceptions revealed a scandal that involved Serie A clubs Juventus, Lazio, Fiorentina, Reggina and AC Milan. The clubs were guilty of rigging games by influencing the appointment of referees. The scandal aftermath was three big clubs relegations, silverware confiscations, fines and point deductions.
1.) 1962 “Battle of Santiago”
The “Battle of Santiago” refers to appalling 1962 World Cup group 2 clash between hosts Chile and Italy. The infamous match was full of scenes of insults, brutality and chaos.
Tension began well before the game. Italian journalists covering an earthquake that had rocked Chile two years earlier had called Santiago a “dump”. During the world cup, Italian newspapers were also accused of disparaging Chilean women.
During the match, numerous scuffles required police intervention. Highlights include Italy’s Giorgio Ferrini tussle with Chile’s Eladio Rojas that ended with Ferrini’s vicious kick on Rojas. Chile’s Leonel Sánchez’s punched Italy’s Mario David and knocked him out. David responded some minutes later with a flying kick to Sanchez’s head. Sanchez then punched and broke Italy’s Humberto Maschio’s nose. Two Italian players were sent off, but Chile escaped any harsh punishment.