Five of the most scandalous stories from the sporting world.
Even by Formula 1’s occasionally Machiavellian standards, “Crashgate” was a stain on the sport that truly shocked. Under instruction from team bosses Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds, Renault’s Nelson Piquet Jnr deliberately crashed during the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix in order to help team-mate Fernando Alonso. The ruse worked perfectly, with the subsequent safety car period allowing the team to change Alonso’s strategy and take the win. Piquet blew the whistle on the scandal a year later, and in the blood-letting that followed, Briatore and Symonds were hit with long bans by the FIA.
THE BLACK SOX
Eight members of the Chicago White Sox were issued with life bans from baseball after being found guilty of deliberately losing games in exchange for financial gain during the 1919 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. The group of conspirators was headed by first baseman Arnold Gandil and also included Eddie Cicotte, Oscar Felsch, Fred McMullin, Charles Risberg, George Weaver, Claude Williams and “Shoeless” Joe Jackson. Jackson and his team-mates were found guilty by a grand jury in September 1920 and never played professionally again.
When Ben Johnson blazed to 100 metres gold at the 1988 Seoul Games in a new world record time of 9.79 seconds the Canadian’s profile shot skywards. But within days Johnson’s reputation was shattered, never to recover. Three days later Johnson was disqualified after testing positive for the steroid stanozolol.
The 2006 Calciopoli scandal engulfed some of the biggest teams in Italian football. The scandal broke after prosecutors intercepted a number of telephone conversations between leading figures in the game, transcripts of which indicated club officials were complicit in trying to influence referee appointments. Juventus general manager Luciano Moggi was banned for life, while his club were stripped of their 2005 and 2006 Serie A titles and relegated to Serie B. AC Milan, Fiorentina, Lazio and Reggina were deducted points for their involvement.
South Africa captain Hansie Cronje was given a lifetime ban from playing or coaching cricket after admitting he had received money from a London bookmaker to “forecast results”. It emerged that he offered players, such as Herschelle Gibbs, money to perform poorly. After unsuccessfully challenging his penalty in September 2001, Cronje died in a plane crash the following year.