7 of The Most Talked About Scandals In Football History

While football stands tall as a beautiful game, captivating the hearts of millions around the world with its dazzling displays and passionate fandom, the allure of the sport does not grant it immunity from the shadows of scandal.

Despite its global popularity and staggering profitability, football has been marred by an unsettling history of corruption and misconduct.

Editor-in-Chief at BonusMonitor.ca Roy Carswell had this to say:

‘There’s no doubt that everyone loves reading a good story. And whether we may like to admit it, the more scandalous it is, the more we like to read about it! And of course, sports – football in particular – has no shortage of these controversial anecdotes!’

From match-fixing conspiracies that shook the very foundation of fair play to high-profile cases involving some of the sport’s most revered figures, football has been plagued by numerous salacious tales, leading to calls for reform and stringent measures to safeguard the sport’s credibility. Let’s delve into some of the most talked-about scandals in football history.

1. Sepp Blatter

sepp blatter

The former FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, who held the position for 17 years, has faced multiple indictments, including charges of sexual assault and bribery. His involvement in corruption scandals ranks among the most significant in soccer history.

Additionally, former US women’s soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo has alleged that Sepp Blatter sexually harassed her during the 2013 FIFA World Player of the Year Awards, with Blatter vehemently denying these accusations

2. Andres Escobar

andres escobar

The tragic killing of Colombian defender Andres Escobar marks one of the most profound scandals in the history of soccer. Following his inadvertent own goal during the 1994 World Cup, which contributed to Colombia’s 2-1 loss to the United States and subsequent elimination from the tournament, Escobar returned to Colombia.

It was in his homeland that a drug trafficker, Humberto Munoz Castro, murdered him in a parking lot due to the substantial betting losses he incurred from Escobar’s mistake.

3. Calciopoli


The Italian football scene has had its fair share of corruption accusations over the years, the most significant being the Calciopoli scandal in 2006. During this scandal, it was revealed that certain teams were manipulating match outcomes by colluding with specific referees.

While several teams were implicated, the primary wrongdoer was revealed to be Juventus. As a consequence, Juventus faced demotion to Serie B and the revocation of the titles they had secured during the implicated period.

4. Marseille


Marseille emerged as one of the most accomplished teams in late ’80s and ’90s France; however, beneath the surface, this reality was far from the truth.

Behind the scenes, the club was entangled in extensive corruption, leading to the conviction of their prominent president, Bernard Tapie, for match-fixing. Consequently, the club faced the stripping of its league title and subsequent relegation.

5. Gold Cup

gold cup

Leading up to the 2011 Gold Cup, five Mexican players faced repercussions after testing positive for drugs, resulting in their suspension from the competition.

Goalkeeper Memo Ochoa, forward Christian “Hobbit” Bermudez, forward Sinha, defender Edgar Duenas, and defender Francisco “Maza” Rodriguez were the implicated team members. Speculation arose that their positive tests might be attributed to the consumption of tainted meat.

This incident proved to be a significant embarrassment for the country. Despite the setback of losing the suspended players, Mexico managed to secure victory in the Gold Cup, propelled by outstanding performances from Giovani dos Santos and Javier Hernandez.

6. John Terry

john terry

Manchester City defender Wayne Bridge faced profound devastation when news surfaced regarding John Terry’s potential involvement in an affair with his wife, Vanessa Perroncel.

The two had previously shared the field as teammates for Chelsea and England, and their camaraderie was well-regarded until this distressing revelation. Notably, Bridge’s reaction was understandable, leading him to decline participation in England matches where Terry was present.

In subsequent clashes against Chelsea after the affair’s exposure, Bridge abstained from shaking hands with Terry, underscoring the strain on their former friendship.

John Terry also grappled with the aftermath, enduring the loss of his captaincy before the World Cup at the hands of Fabio Capello and facing considerable public criticism. The episode marked a challenging period for both players, tarnishing their professional and personal standings.

7. Adrian Mutu

adrian mutu

In August 2003, Chelsea secured the signing of Adrian Mutu from Parma for a substantial sum. However, just over a year into his tenure at Stamford Bridge, the player became entangled in controversy, resulting in his dismissal from the club due to cocaine use.

The incident led to his suspension and subsequent departure from Chelsea. As a consequence of the forced termination, Mutu was mandated to settle a bill exceeding £14.6 million.