Football’s worst match fixing from goalie tranquilising strikers to 41 own goals

Shameful match fixing continues to the blight the footballing world – the latest example being an incredible 59-1 victory in South Africa on the last day of the season.

The South African fourth division outfit received a lifetime ban after fixing a match by scoring 41 own goals to help their opponent's title bid.

But the there are so many allegations of match fixing over the years – including a twisted goalkeeper who spiked the drinks of opposition players in a bid to fix games and pay off a gambling debt.

Others incidents include widespread match fixing in Italian football and a South Korean footballer banned for life.

And footballers are not the only players guilty of match fixing – referees and club owners have been at it as well.

These are nine examples of match fixing which shocked the football world.

1. Totenero football scandal

The Totenero scandal rocked the football world in 1980 and involved one of the world's greatest Italian strikers.

It led to Milan and Lazio being relegated from Seria A after a newspaper discovered that two greengrocers in Rome had masterminded a match-fixing ring involving players from Lazio, who were regulars in their restaurant.

Eventually, the pair ran out of money to fix matches, and 'totenero' (the Italian term for illegal gambling), led to prison time for no fewer than 21 players, officials and owners.

The most notable of all included Perugia forward Paolo Rossi, who following his two year prison sentence, then went on to shine in the 1982 World Cup in Spain where he ended up as top goalscorer.

2. Marseille stripped of the title

Marseille were kings of Europe when the club came crashing down after it was revealed the club had offered money to another team to throw a game.

Marseille were on top of the world in 1993, having won the UEFA Champions League and their fourth consecutive Ligue 1 title.

However, it all came to a shuddering end when it was discovered that owner Bernard Tapie had offered money to strugglers Valenciennes to throw their game against Les Phoceens.

This was primarily to avoid injuries ahead of the European Cup final, but Tapie was caught and the dream was over for the club, as they were immediately relegated to Ligue 2 and Tapie was given a lifetime ban from football.

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3. Calciopoli match fixing

This will go down as the darkest hour in Italian football and of the the most high profile match fixing incidents.

The incident came to light back in 2006 after Italian police revealed they had intercepted phone calls involving some of Italy's biggest clubs, in which conversations consisted of officials being in tandem with the referee's organisation so they could select favourable officials for their matches.

They were caught, and all clubs involved were punished, including points deductions and European competition bans for Milan, Fiorentina, Lazio and Reggina.

The club to receive the heftiest punishment though was Juventus, arguably the biggest and also the main culprit.

In a move which shocked world football they were relegated to Serie B and stripped of their previous two Scudetti, which led to a mass exodus of star players from the club.

4. Italian drink spiking

This was another shocking incident of match fixing involving Italian football.

The drama unfolded back in 2011 in Serie C between Cremonese and Paganese.

Early on in the clash, Cremonese players were visibly lethargic, with some barely being able to walk.

One player even crashed his car on the way home from the game.

An investigation was launched and it was discovered that Paganese goalkeeper Marco Paolini spiked some of the drinks with tranquilisers to fix the match and pay off his gambling debts.

Paolini was banned for five years.

5. Four teams banned from Nigerian league after record 79-0 win

There was another crazy end to the season back in 2013 in the Nigerian second division.

There was plenty at stake for two Nigerian clubs on the final day with Plateau United Feeders and Police Machine looking to go into the professional league.

With the Feeders 7-0 up at half time against Akurba FC, and their promotion rivals 6-0 ahead against Babayaro FC, the games went from the bizarre to the truly ridiculous.

The Feeders went to score 72 goals in the second half to claim an unprecedented 79-0 win, which was enough to finish ahead of the Machine, who could only manage a 67-0 victory.

It was a game in which someone scored 11 goals, three own goals, and saw four strikes within sixty seconds as a new ball was used for kick offs rather than retrieving balls from the net..

The Nigerian FA weren't impressed and banned all four teams for ten years due to the 'shameful incident.'

6. South Korean footballer Choi Sung-Kuk banned for life

FIFA handed a lifetime ban against South Korean international footballer Choi Sung-Kuk for his part in a match-fixing scandal that rocked the K-League back in 2011.

Choi was one of dozens of former and current players who were indicted in connection with the investigation.

The allegations stated that players accepted bribes from criminal gambling rings to manipulate game outcomes.

Choi was handed a 10-month suspended prison sentence and banned from playing in any FIFA member nation for life ending his football career.

His punishment is notably one of the heaviest handed to an individual footballer for match-fixing.

7. Swiss referee Kurt Rothlisberger

Swiss referee Kurt Rothlisberger was banned for life for allegedly offering to have another referee fix a Champions Cup game in 1996.

The game in question was between Grasshoppers of Switzerland and Auxerre of France, with Vadim Zhuk of Belarus the referee.

UEFA said Rothlisberger contacted the Swiss team and asked if it would be interested in having the referee favour the Grasshoppers.

Rothlisberger said he was friendly with the referee and he could make such an arrangement. UEFA said a sum of $70,000 was suggested as compensation to Rothlisberger.

UEFA said Grasshoppers general manager Erich Vogel and club president Romano Spadero informed UEFA, and an investigation started.

While Grasshoppers did win the game, there was no proof that Zhuk took a bribe to ensure their win. According to Rothlisberger, he had just been "stupid" in a casual conversation with the then Grasshopper manager Erich Vogel when he mentioned it.

The referee was banned for life.

Rothlisberger had the refereed the 1993 Champions Cup final between France’s Olympique Marseille and Italy’s AC Milan. He also also refereed at the 1994 World Cup.

8. Standard Liege bonus bribes

Standard Liege were involved in a match-fixing scandal that rocked Belgium in 1982.

Club manager Raymond Goethals had instructed players to offer their match bonuses as bribes to their opponents.

This would have allowed Standard Liege to ensure victory and win the title trophy. It would've also allowed them to keep their players match-fit and uninjured for their game against Barcelona.

After the match-fixing scandal came to the fore, Goethals was banned from managing in Belgium for life and Standard Liege players were also found guilty and banned from Belgian football.

Notably, Goethals would go on to coach Marseilles and bring them their Champions League trophy in 1993. In the same year that Tapei was involved in the club's Ligue 1 match-fixing scandal.

9. Lifetime ban after Nigerian team scores 41 own goals

Title-challengers Matiyasi claimed an outrageous 59-1 victory over Nsami Mighty Birds in bizarre circumstances that certainly raised an eyebrow from the South African footballing authorities.

Almost 70 per cent of Matiyasi's goals were put into the net by an overly helpful opposition as the Mighty Birds ended the game with four red cards.

Battling against Shivulani Dangerous Tigers for the league crown, the Tigers held a three-point advantage going into the final round of fixtures as well as a superior goal difference of 16.

Though it seems third-placed Nsami had rolled over against the title favourites, trailing 22-0 to Matiyasi at half-time.

Learning of the shifty scoreline, Shivulani hatched a plot with the Kotoko Happy Boys to win the second 45 in an impressive manner and the match finished 33-1 to the Tigers.

Now though, all four sides have unsurprisingly been found guilty of match-fixing and the quartet of clubs have been banned from competing for life – fourth-placed side Gawula Classic claimed the title.

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