Biggest Corruption Scandals in Sports

  • 14 FIFA officials were charged by the FBI with corruption
  • IAAF’s ex-president Lamine Diack received payments to cover up doping
  • Rio’s former governor paid $2 million to buy votes
biggest corruption scandals in sports
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Sadly sports can’t be free from corruption either, like other parts of life. In the last few years we could hear about corruption from different organisations from FIFA to the Olympic Committee. But in the biggest corruption scandals in sports we can find examples from other sports and their leaders who all had dirty secrets during their work. 

Last week we could hear about the latest corruption scandal, this time about the ex-president of the International Weightlifting Federation, Dr Tamas Ajan. According to a long report of  Canadian law professor Richard Mclaren $10 million was missing from the books. He also mentioned cover-ups of doping cases and buying of votes in the presidential elections. It might sound shocking but unfortunately these events are not unique. They have happened in several other sport organization in the last few years. 

1. Qatar World Cup bid in the biggest corruption scandals in sports

One of the biggest corruption scandals in sports happened in football’s world governing body, at FIFA.  The FBI charged 4 FIFA officials in Zurich in 2015 with corruption following their investigation. In the previous year FIFA made its own investigation about corruption but they never published it.

The whole scandal emerged after the rich but tiny country of Qatar won the right to organize the 2022 World Cup. In spite of the heat in summer, the limited options of selling alcohol and human rights issues. All these issues raised suspicions that Qatar officials paid bribes to FIFA members to get their votes.

But during the investigation similar accusations emerged regarding the 2010 South Africa World Cup. And the 2018 Russia World Cup bidding process as well. after all these scandals FIFA president Sepp Blatter resigned in 2015. 

biggest corruption scandals in sports
It’s all over the sports world.

2. Corruption at IAAF

The world athletics governing body, the IAAF had similar issues as FIFA. Its former president, Senegalese Lamine Diack has been charged with corruption and money-laundering in the same year. Apparently he accepted €3 million to cover up positive doping tests of Russian athletes. He has been under investigation since 2015 by French authorities and facing trial this year.

Of course, athletics’ major scandal, the doping of Russian athletes are in the focus of this case. In exchange for his help, Diack also received Russian funds for his election campaigns. Which seemed to work as he was the president of the IAAF between 1999 to 2015. If he is guilty he can face up to 10 years in jail. While Russian athletes are still banned from competing at international events, like the World Championships and the Olympics. 

3. Rio’s Olympic Bid

Even sports biggest organization, the International Olympic Committee couldn’t avoid allegations about corruption. The former governor of Rio de Janeiro, Sergio Cabral stated that 9 members of the IOC accepted bribe to vote for Rio’s 2016 Olympic bid. They used the assistance of above mentioned Lamine Diack, who was also a member of IOC and had experience in arranging votes.

Cabral paid $2 million to Diack to buy votes with the knowledge of the president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee, Arthur Nuzman. He also has been arrested with corruption charges. While Cabral received a sentence of more than 200 years in jail. But even Tokyo’s bid for the 2020 Olympics was linked to bribery. French authorities investigated the former president of the Japanese Olympic Committee, Tsunekazu Takeda. He stepped down from his position last year but denied all charges. 

4. European Match-fixing scandal

Not only top officials can be corrupt though, but other participants of the sports as well. In the biggest match-fixing scandal in football players, referees and other officials were all taking part. The most affected countries were Germany, Switzerland and Turkey but a Europol investigation in 2013 found evidence of match-fixing in 15 countries all over the world. Crime syndicates based in Asia were paying bribes over €2 million to everyone involved. 

biggest corruption scandals in sports
Euro has some big ones.

Other match-fixing scandals emerged in other countries as well from Italy to the UK as online sportsbooks news in the UK were reporting. And in other continents too from Africa to Latin America. French police also investigated the ex-president of the Union of European Football Association, UEFA,  Michel Platini over a payment. Apparently he received $2 million from FIFA president Blatter for his earlier work as an adviser. He also had to resign in 2015 while last year French police interrogated him about the Qatar bid. 

5. Match-fixing in cricket

Though cricket is considered the gentleman’s sport, it also has its illnesses. Online gambling sites in the UK are offering odds for the biggest cricket leagues in the world including the Indian Premier League. But one of its biggest scandals rocked the county in 2013. Then two teams of the league were suspended after their players were charged with spot-fixing and betting. For their misfortune, reporters were recording the conversations leading to 17 people’s arrests. But similar incidents happened in other countries too. 

In New Zealand three players were charged in the same year. Pakistan has struggled with the same issues for a long time as well. In 2017 two players received a five-year ban after a cheating scandal. Indian businessman Deepak Agarwal was also banned from all cricket for 2 years. Qatar based broadcaster Al-Jazeera was accusing the International Cricket Council in 2018 with not investigating allegations about fixing of international games.

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