Sports have always intrigued not just its hardcore fans but the masses as well. However, of late, due to the various sports controversies and scams involving the sports personality and administration bodies, the once rabid fans are losing interest in sports.
Here’s a look at the major scams and scandals that rocked the sporting world in 2015:
1. The NFL deflate-gate scam
This major sports scam erupted during an American Football Conference (AFC) Championship game in January. It involved allegations of ball tampering by National Football League’s (NFL) team New England Patriots. Ball tampering is when the player deliberately alters the condition of the ball. Playing against the Indianapolis Colts at home, the Patriots were alleged to have under-inflated 11 of the 12 match balls by about 2 pounds per square inch each. This became a major talking point since a deliberately under-inflated football may be easier to grip, throw and catch.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was in the news for all the year and was suspended momentarily for his involvement in the scam along with some bizarre press conferences and frequent trips to the courts.
2. The Greek Football scandal
Although initiated in the year 2011, the Greek football scam came to limelight in April 2015 when prosecutor Aristidis Korrea’s released a 173-page long report. The report detailed how the Greek club Olympiakos F.C.’s owner Evangelos Marinakis, along with members of the Greek Football Federation, looked to dictate the sports’ fate in the country by criminal methods of blackmail and fraud.
Marinakis was questioned and later released on a €200,000 bail in June 2015. His involvement from any football-related activity was prohibited momentarily.
3. The Mayweather – Pacquiao bout ‘fraud of the century’
Boxing fans worldwide wanted to see Floyd Mayweather face Manny Pacquiao in 2009, back when both the boxers were in their prime. However, their May 2015 bout, for which HD pay-per-views were sold for $100 per household, was a big letdown. Pacquiao revealed that he had fought with a damaged shoulder, which had obviously inhibited his ability to throw punches at his opponent. He had even asked for pain-killing injections prior to the match but was denied them in order to limit further damage to his body.
Eventually, the boxing match that made $300 million, ended up being an unfair one and disappointed the boxing fans. This, coupled with the rise of Ultimate Fighting Championship and mixed martial arts through 2015, has damaged the image and following of boxing globally.
4. Suspension of IPL teams, Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals
Following the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scam, former champions Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals were handed a 2-year suspension from the tournament. In July 2015, a commission led by Justice RM Lodha saw the two franchises getting suspended for their respective team principals, Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra’s involvement in placing illegal bets on IPL matches.
Meanwhile, two new franchises in the form of Pune and Rajkot will be replacing Chennai and Rajasthan for the upcoming 2016 seasons.
5. Lord Coe’s alleged conflict of interest
International Association of Athletics Federations (IAFF) President, Lord Sebastian Coe, faced allegations regarding conflict of interest, after being suspected of influencing his predecessor Lamine Diack in making Eugene, a city in Oregon, the host of the 2021 Athletics World Championships.
The American city was awarded the event in April despite interest from Gothenburg, Sweden. But, why was Eugene given preference over the other cities? Eugene, belonging to Nike’s founder state, Oregon, appears to be the biggest beneficiary out of this. For instance, Lord Coe served as the company’s ambassador for about 37-years, stepping down only recently following the allegations that damaged his credibility.
6. Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini’s breach
On 21st December 2015, FIFA’s Ethics Committee banned their own President, Sepp Blatter, and UEFA President, Michel Platini, from all football-related activities for a period of 8 years. This was a result of both men being found guilty of a series of breaches including a conflict of interest and “disloyal payments” of £1.35 million from Blatter to Platini in 2011. While they will still try and clear their name off the allegations, this verdict looks like the final nail in the coffin of the Blatter-Platini corruption saga.
7. Doping in sports
As per a leaked email from July 2013 alleged that Lord Coe’s right-hand man, Nick Davies, had been aware of the state-sponsored doping in Russia. But with the World Championships in Moscow ever so close, he discreetly planned to delay the public revelation of the athletes involved. Leaked emails also revealed that he would have been willing to make use of Lord Coe’s influence and position in the IAFF to aid damage limitation.
In other parts of the world, former Asian Games silver medalist boxer, Manpreet Singh, was ejected from the Military World Games after failing a The Network of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies’s (NADA) dope test. In his defense, Manpreet claims to have accidentally consumed a prohibited substance that happened to be an ingredient of a cough syrup he had consumed.
The year 2015 also saw the highest number of Indian weightlifters return positive for performance-enhancing drugs, threatening India’s participation in next year’s Olympic Games.
And that’s a wrap of 2015 from the sporting world. Rest assured, 2016 will be equally (if not more) exciting!