Organised crime gangs have fixed or tried to fix hundreds of football matches around the world in recent years, including World Cup and European Championship qualifiers and two Champions League games, Europol announced Monday.
The European Union’s police agency said an 18-month review found 380 suspicious matches in Europe and another 300 questionable games outside the continent, mainly in Africa, Asia and South and Central America. It also found evidence that a Singapore-based crime syndicate was involved in some of the match-fixing.
Here’s a look at some of football’s biggest match-fixing scandals:
1. The Calciopoli Scandal in 2006
The scandal rocked world football when it emerged that many top clubs in Italy had been involved in influencing the appointment of referees for their games among other allegations. Juventus who had won the 2005 and 2006 league were stripped of their titles and were relegated to Serie B where they stayed for one season, before returning to top flight immediately. Though Juventus were punished, AC Milan and some other clubs escaped with what many felt was little more than a gentle rap on their knuckles.
2. The Hoyzer fix
In 2005, German referee Robert Hoyzer admitted to match-fixing charges and promised to co-operate fully with an ongoing investigation.
"The accusations that have been raised in public are true," he said. "I regret my behaviour profoundly and apologise.” The match at the centre of the allegations involved Hamburg SV against lower-league Paderborn, where Hoyzer sent off one Hamburg player and awarded Paderborn two penalties. Hamburg were leading 2-0 but went on to lose 4-2. Hamburg Manager Klaus Topmoeller was later sacked. The DFB investigation was then widened to include five more matches Hoyzer was involved in.
3. Liverpool, United and the bad Friday
The game on Good Friday of 1915 between Liverpool and Manchester United was judged to have been fixed. The match which ended 2-0 in United's favor helped them avoid relegation and Chelsea were the club that went down instead. However, the first division was expanded ensuring that Chelsea stayed in the top division. Four players from United and three from Liverpool were banned for life after a FA investigation found them guilty.
4. It happens in France too
Marseille was involved in a huge fixing controversy in 1993 in which some players from other clubs were apparently approached. Arsene Wenger, who was then the manager of Monaco, had criticized the ways of Marseille and their president Bernard Tapie. Marseille had won the titles in 1991 and 1992 while Monaco finished runners-up. Tapie was later found guilty of fixing matches. The club was stripped of its title and relegated. Tapie was jailed for six months.
“We fought against people who didn't use regular methods,” Wenger later said. “I am sure we would have won more titles in normal circumstances.”
5. Accrington Stanley vs Bury
Most people in India remember Bury for the time that Bhaichung Bhutia spent with them. But in 2008, they didn’t exactly do themselves proud. Five League Two players were banned by the Football Association for betting on the outcome of a game featuring the club they played for. The fixture, a 2-0 defeat against Bury, saw Jay Harris, David Mannix, Robert Williams and captain Peter Cavanagh of Accrington all betting on their team to lose, while Bury's Andrew Mangan bet on his team to win. All five were handed fines and lengthy bans from the game.
6. China jailing two former football chiefs for corruption
China jailed two former football chiefs, national team players and even referees in the toughest crackdown on rampant corruption in the sport in June 2012. Xie Yalong and Nan Yong, who previously ran the national association, were each sentenced to 10 and a half years for taking bribes and were ordered to pay 200,000 yuan (£20,000) in fines by courts in the north-east. Four players from the national team were sentenced to up to six years and each fined 500,000 yuan (£50,000) for accepting bribes to fix a match. The 8m yuan (£800,000) they had amassed in bribes was also confiscated. In all, 24 people were sentenced in trials held in two cities in Liaoning province. They included four referees jailed for up to six years for taking bribes and several other senior officials.
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