Sports

5 Match Fixing Scandals From Other Sports That Shocked Fans

Cricket is not the only game exploited by bookies and criminals to make a quick buck.

Telephone interceptions during the 2004–05 and 2005–06 seasons led to the Calciopoli Scandal.
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Match fixing in cricket has tarnished many reputations. Sadly, no sport is immune to corruption, as the following instances showed.

1. Black Sox Scandal (Baseball)

It was among the early match-fixing scandals that hit the world of sports. Eight members of the Chicago White Sox, a Major League Baseball team, were found guilty of throwing away parts of the 1919 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for money. Once their crime came to the fore, players including the likes of Joe Jackson and Eddie Cicotte, received life bans from baseball. The ringleader of the scandal was Chick Gandil of the White Sox, a person who by all accounts had an evil streak and was not someone to mess with.

2. Calciopoli Scandal (Football):

The 2006 Calciopoli scandal left many football fans disillusioned. Italian football's top clubs such as Juventus, AC Milan, Lazio and Fiorentina were involved in one of the biggest match-fixing scandals in sports. The clubs conspired to influence the appointment of match officials for their games and get the desired result. The dark episode tarnished Italy's image in world football. Some of the prime culprits, such as Fiorentina and Lazio, were relegated to Serie B with point deductions. Juventus too were demoted to the Italian second division. AC Milan escaped relegation but started their 2007 campaign with a 15-point penalty and were barred from playing in the Champions League that season.

3. Nikolay Davydenko (Tennis):

In 2007, Russian tennis player Nikolay Davydenko played Martin Vassallo Arguello in the second round of the Orange Prokom tournament. However, what transpired later went down as one of the biggest fixing scandals in tennis. A large number of bets were placed on Arguello, despite the Russian player winning the first set and taking the lead in the second. Betfair, a notable betting company, took note of this and alerted match officials. Meanwhile, Davydenko, who was in a winning position, called for medical time-outs before the third set and then conceded the match. Betfair voided all the bets placed on the match and an investigation was called. Surprisingly, the ATP cleared Davydenko and Arguello of all charges after an investigation. Not everyone was convinced, however.

4. Malaysian Scandal (Badminton):

In 2018, Badminton World Federation (BWF) banned two Malaysian players, Tan Chun Seang and Zulfadli Zulkiffli, for 15 and 20 years, respectively. Their offence? Fixing matches during tournaments from 2013 onwards. An independent panel set up by the BWF found out that both players were "engaged in corruption offences over a significant period and a significant number of tournaments" from 2013. All this came to light after a whistleblower alleged that Zulkiffli had approached him during a tournament in Brazil in 2016.

5. Renault Crashgate (Formula One):

During the 2008 F1 season, the then Renault F1 driver Nelson Piquet Jr. was accused of deliberately crashing his car on lap 14 of the Singapore Grand Prix that eventually handed the race honours to teammate Fernando Alonso. However, it later came to light that Piquet was 'ordered' to crash his car by then boss Flavio Briatore. At the FIA hearing, Renault was disqualified from F1 and received suspension orders for two years. Briatore was suspended from all F1 events and FIA-sanctioned events indefinitely as well. Pat Symonds, Renault's executive director of engineering, received sanctions from the FIA too.

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