When Match-Fixing, Cheating and Doping Rocked Sporting World

Published April 26th, 2020 - 03:29 GMT
White Sox team
White Sox team

As the Covid-19 pandemic has deprived sports lovers of live action, let's take you back in time to relive some extraordinary events. We begin with five of the biggest sporting scandals in history


More than a century ago -- in 1919 to be precise and less than a year after the end of the World War I -- the American baseball league was rocked by its biggest scandal as eight players from the Chicago White Sox were accused of throwing the World Series match against the Cincinnati Reds in exchange of money. The eight players -- Arnold Gandil, Eddie Cicotte, Oscar Felsch, Joe Jackson, Fred McMullin, Charles Risberg, George Weaver, Claude Williams - were banned for life in the 'Black Sox Scandal'.


During South Africa's tour of India in 2000, a phone conversation between captain Hansie Cronje and a bookie opened a can of worms and cricket was never the same again. A teary-eyed Cronje admitted to fixing matches in exchange of money and also revealed Mohammad Azharuddin was the man who introduced him to bookies. Both Cronje and Azharuddin were banned for life and the tremors were felt across the border as well with Pakistan's Saleem Malik also receiving a life-ban for his role in match-fixing.


The Renault F1 team ordered their driver Nelson Piquet Jr. to deliberately crash his car to give a competitive advantage to his teammate Fernando Alonso at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix. Dubbed as the Crashgate by media, the incident helped Alonso win the race despite starting 15th on the grid. The Renault Formula One team were charged with conspiracy after an investigation. The team's managing director, Flavio Briatore, and executive director of engineering, Pat Symonds, were slapped with bans which were later overturned by a French court. Both of them agreed to quit Formula One events.


In what was the biggest doping scandal the sporting world has ever known, Lance Armstrong went from cycling's greatest hero to its ugliest villain. The cancer survivor who became a symbol of defiance for his seven title-winning runs at the grueling Tour de France, the American denied any wrongdoing for a long period of time when the anti-doping agencies were gathering proof of his use of performance-enhancing drugs during his career. Armstrong eventually admitted to doping in 2013 and was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.


While the Paralympics have always been about celebrating the triumph of human spirit against the mighty odds, the 2000 Sydney Games is not remembered for the right reasons. Rather, it was cheating that reared its ugly head. The Spanish team in the basketball event for players with intellectual disabilities were caught fielding athletes with no disabilities. The Spaniards, which had won the final against Russia, were eventually stripped of their gold medal. The other events for players with intellectual disabilities were removed from the Games.

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