During a week’s work experience placement at CommonSpace from Stonelaw High School, 15-year-old Matthew Meechan takes a look at some of the biggest sporting shocks and scandals of the last 25 years
ONLY two weeks ago, the world was shocked as it was revealed that Sam Allardyce was stepping down from his role as the England manager after just one game in charge following allegations of malpractice.
Allardyce was caught offering advice on how to get around rules of player transfers, specifically with 3rd party ownership deals, to middle-eastern businessmen, alongside allegations from former player Ravel Morrison that Allardyce offered him a pay rise at West Ham had he signed with Allardyce’s agent.
The Allardyce incident is the latest in a string. Over the last 25 years, sporting scandals have become a regular occurrence in our favourite sports.
Common Space takes a look at these infamous sporting events whether they be betting, doping or bribing, and how it all went wrong for some of the world’s most beloved athletes.
1. 2000 Spanish Summer Paralympics basketball team
While some of the ex-athletes on this list lied about a sport they could compete in, the Spanish Basketball Team which competed at the 2000 Paralympic Games wanted to go one further.
It turned out, after an extensive investigation by undercover journalist Carlos Ribagorda, that 10 of the 12 players who competed did not have a mental disability and were stripped of their gold medals by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
The fact that the Spanish team managed to get away with their schemes at first prompted the IPC introduced a ‘sports intelligence’ test to ensure that the athletes competing did have a real mental/intellectual disability.
2. The 2006 “Calciopoli” scandal
Moving to Italy and we now have a scandal that involves match fixing by some of Italy’s biggest football clubs. During the 2004-2005 Serie A season, champions Juventus, alongside AC Milan, Fiorentina, Lazio and Reggina, were investigated under allegations that they had been bribing Italian officials in an attempt to appoint favourable referees.
All five clubs were found guilty by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC). Each club was given a punishment for their role in the scandal, with the champions Juventus being relegated into Serie B (the second division of Italian football) and being stripped of their 2004-05 and 2005-06 titles, while Milan, Reggina, Lazio and Fiorentina all were given fines, point deductions and were thrown out of certain competitions.
3. Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding’s cheap shot
Many people wouldn’t have believed in 1994 that US figure skater Tonya Harding hired someone to ‘take out’ her biggest competition, Nancy Kerrigan, for Olympic Gold but sadly, skating seemed to bring out the worst in Harding.
Harding had her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly and her bodyguard Shawn Eckhardt hire hitman Shane Stant to break Kerrigan’s leg so that she couldn’t compete.
While the attack was carried out, it was an overall failure, with Kerrigan’s leg only being bruised after the attack. Eventually, there was a happy ending for Kerrigan, who recovered on time to win the silver medal at the Olympics.
Harding was not so deserving of a happy ending in the eyes of the United States Figure Skating Association (USFSA), as she was banned for competing and coaching for life at any USFSA-run events while Gillooly, Eckhrdt, Stant and getaway driver Derrick Smith all served time in prison for their participation in the attack.
4. Lance Armstrong and his doping antics
Sometimes, it’s hard to believe that something of Lance Armstrong’s stature as an athlete was all a big façade. Over the years, the former seven-time winner of the Tour de France had been accused of taking performance enhancing drugs as he always seemed to easily win.
However, as the allegations came in, Armstrong would swat them away like flies, clearly stating he never had and never would take performance enhancing drugs. However, after years of allegations and lies started to catch up on him, Armstrong did not fight the allegations and in 2013 even admitted live on air to Oprah Winfrey that he had been taking performance enhancing drugs.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) called Armstrong’s use of dope in sport as “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen” and Armstrong was stripped of all of his Tour de France titles and banned from cycling for life.
5. 2016 Russian doping scandal
In the summer of 2016, people were buzzing for the parties of the summer, the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Whilst the rest of the world would watch as the athletes representing their countries compete for the Gold, the same could not be said for those of the eastern European country.
It was revealed that Russian athletes had been involved in a doping scandal, which meant that a chunk of the Olympic athletes would miss the Games as further investigations took place, while all Russian Paralympic athletes were banned from competing.
6.Alex Rodriguez: MVP or cheating liar
Alex Rodriguez, or ‘A-Rod’, was a baseball player who had just came off of a brilliant season with the Texas Rangers in 2003, winning the MLB Most Valuable Player award, which earned him a move to the New York Yankees.
However, after several years of lying, Rodriguez admitted in the late 2000s that he took performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) between 2000 and 2003 in an attempt to show he was worth the $252m that the Texas Rangers payed for him.
People grew to forgive A-Rod for what he did as he had never taken dope while playing for the Yankees, but then A-Rod lied again, and later admitted to taking PEDs between 2010 and 2012.
Nowadays, A-Rod is a free agent after his Yankees contract ran out but will never be held in the same high esteem ever again.
7. Tiger Woods: How to ruin your reputation … and then regain it!
During the late 1990s through to the late 2000s, if you asked someone to name a current golfer, a lot of people would have said Tiger Woods. Woods was beloved for his talent on the green and his bad boy attitude off it.
However, behind the scenes it turned out his bad boy persona was almost a shadow to the fact he had committed infidelity nine times in his career. As the truth came out, Woods apologised to the public and stated that he would take time out of golf to rekindle his marriage.
However, this was not to be as Woods was eventually divorced by his wife and is now back golfing where he has built himself up again to become the beloved golfer he was 10 years ago.
While Woods hadn’t done anything illegal or unsporting, it harmed his image in the public eye. Scandals don’t need to happen on the field of play for them to impact a career.
8. Max Mosley and THAT Night
Max Mosley, prior to his court case against the News of the World newspaper, was one of the biggest names in the F1 world. He was the president of the FIA (International Automobile Federation) at the time of the court case and was going into his 15th year in the role.
Yet, what could have been a good few years to end his FIA presidency turned out to be one of the strangest cases by a sports star in recent times. It was reported in 2008 by the News of the World that Mosley had participated in a sex act that involved five women and also involved some of the attendees dressing in German WW2 uniforms.
Mosley sued the newspaper for a breach of his privacy and defamation as the newspaper dubbed the act as “a sick Nazi orgy” and won £60,000 as the court ruled in his favour. The court also found that while the uniforms were inspired by German WW2 soldiers, no connotations to the Nazi party were made. And all of this could have been avoided had Max just had a lazy night!
9. 2002 Winter Olympic Bid Scandal
In 2002, the Winter Olympics was held in Salt Lake City, Utah but the lead up to the games was one of the most controversial.
Having won the right to host the Games in 1995, many were surprised that Salt Lake had won the right to host the competition as it had tried and failed four times previously. It turned out that people were right to be shocked as in 1998, the International Olympics Committee (IOC) was accused of taking bribes from the Salt Lake Organising Committee (SLOC) and investigations were opened by the IOC, United States Olympic Committee (USOC), SLOC and the US Department of Justice into IOC members taking bribes from SLOC members in order to gain votes in the Olympic Voting Scheme.
It turned out that IOC members had taken bribes, resulting in former president of the SLOC, Tom Welch, and former vice-president David Johnson being arrested with 15 charges of bribery and fraud being pinned to them, while 10 members of the IOC were expelled and 10 others were sanctioned.
10. Fifa is corrupt?!? Really?!?
Well, what else could we finish with considering how much coverage people like Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini get for all the allegations made against them.
Blatter has been accused throughout his time as the president of Fifa of being corrupt, taking bribes or simply forcing the organisation into financial mismanagement.
Blatter has always denied such accusations against him, and he continued to run the organisation until the FBI stood in in 2015 and investigated Blatter and the rest of Fifa for corruption and money laundering.
Six days after the American organisation began its investigation, Blatter called for a new president to be elected as he would step down from the role. Since then, Blatter has been banned from all Fifa-related activities for the next six years, and criminal charges could yet be placed on him.
The new president of Fifa has been elected as Gianni Infantino. Hopefully, the Swiss president won’t get into as much trouble as his fellow countryman.
Pictures courtesy of makeroadssafe
, Burns Library, Boston College
, Keith Allison
, Tim Roper
, Keith Allison
, Ian McFarland
, PAN Photo