Betting on ourselves and more: scandals from the history of football

According to the prevailing rules, players, coaches, and functionaries should not bet. This prohibition proceeds from the principle of disinterest – in a bet a party that directly affects the outcome cannot take part. All football organizations and federations adhere to this rule. However, in the history of football, this prohibition has been violated more than once. One of the first major scandals related to betting players on themselves, flared up when official football was not even 45 years old.

It was the season 1914/15 in the First division of the Football League of England. “Liverpool” entrenched in the middle of the standings, and “Manchester United” for a few rounds to the end could fly to the Second Division. By March 1915, it became apparent that due to World War I, football would decline and players would be left without money. Therefore, everyone wanted to earn extra money.

April 2, 1915, the day of Good Friday, at Old Trafford the match Manchester United – Liverpool took place. The Merseysideers didn’t care how the game ended, because for them it didn’t change anything dramatically. But for the “Mankunians” the match was super important.
The game ended 2-0 in favor of Manchester United, both goals scored by George Anderson. After the match, fans were discussing a clearly relaxed Liverpool game. Also, questions were raised by a penalty not scored by Patrick O’Connell, who was appointed to the goal of the Reds with a score of 1-0. The football player openly fired to the side, not even trying to score – the ball flew right up to the corner flag. After that, the player laughed because he was sure that United would score again. Indeed, in the 75th minute, George Anderson scored a double.

The outrage of the players was expressed not only by the fans, but also by the officials of the match. United coach Jack Robson and referee Sharpe questioned the fairness of the game. Later, the police investigated the incident.

It turned out that the victory of Manchester United with an exact score of 2: 0 were put in large amounts. Bookmakers froze payments and set a reward for the information provided. The key to answering all the questions was Liverpool player Fred Pagnem. He refused to surrender the match for the sake of money and pointed to a conspiracy of teammates and United football players.
It turned out that from the side of Liverpool, Jackie Sheldon, Tom Miller, Bob Purcell and Thomas Fairfall participated in the conspiracy. The Manchester conspirators were Sandy Turnbull, Arthur Wally and Inok West. Sheldon was soon recognized as the main organizer of the conspiracy. The investigation established that none of the club management knew about the deal, so it was decided not to punish the team.

However, personal punishment followed. On December 27, 1915, all seven soccer players convicted were disqualified for life. The same punishment was received by the player of Stockport County Lawrence Cook, who, as it turned out, also participated in the conspiracy.

65 years after the English “agreement” in Italy, there was probably the most high-profile scandal in the 20th century related to betting players on themselves and their teams.

In the 1979/80 season, Serie A was shocked by rumors of a corruption conspiracy. The press kept publishing new revelations, and the public speculated on the basis of rumors. The climax occurred on March 23, 1980. That day, the local Pescara and the Roman Lazio were playing at the Adriatic stadium. The police arrived at the stadium, occupying the sub-tribune premises.

After the match, four Lazio players – Lionello Manfredonia, Giuseppe Wilson, Bruno Giordano and Massimo Cacciatori – were invited to the referee’s locker room, where the police were waiting for them. The players were presented with an arrest warrant and were taken directly to the station from the stadium.
On the same day, seven more football players and the president of Milan Felice Colombo were detained. Another football player was detained the next day, March 24. In addition, 20 players were summoned for interrogation. Among them were Giuseppe Savoldi, Enrico Albertozi, Giorgio Morini and even Paolo Rossi. The detainees were released on April 3 on bail of 115 thousand dollars.

The catalyst for the criminal case was the publication in the Italian press. But back in the winter of 1980, two ordinary traders, Massimo Kruchiani and варlvaro Trinca, came to the head of the investigation department of the Italian Football Federation, Corrado de Biase. They said that they organized an underground tote for football players. The men intended to benefit, but in the end they got a tough minus and began to fear for their own lives, which led them to de Biase.

Merchants surrendered a whole network of underground sweepstakes – the Totonero. The fact is that at that time it was possible to participate only in the state lottery, therefore, entrepreneurs and the mafia set about organizing a site where the probability of winning could be higher (and therefore the number of its participants). “Totonero” was in demand both among football players and among others involved in professional sports.

The Italian clubs Lazio, Milan, Bologna, Juventus, Avellino, Genoa, Napoli, Paler were involved in the scheme

The Italian clubs Lazio, Milan, Bologna, Juventus, Avellino, Genoa, Napoli, Palermo, Perugia and Taranto were involved in the scheme.

Kruchiani issued all the details of the transactions, including surnames, amounts and dates. The main organizers of the conspiracy were named Palermo player Magido Magherini and Lazio captain Giuseppe Wilson.
The penalties were severe: Milan and Lazio were sent to Serie B, while Avellino, Bologna, Perugia, Palermo and Taranto began the next season with a score of -5 points. The president of Milan Felice Colombo was disqualified for life.

Also, 20 football players received personal punishment: Pellegrini (Avellino) was suspended for 6 years, Cacciatori (Lazio) for life, Albertozi (Milan) for life, Giordano (Lazio) for 1.5 years, Manfredonia (Lazio) – for 1.5 years, Petrini (“Bologna”) – for 3.5 years, Magerini (“Palermo”) – for 1.5 years, Savoldi (“Bologna”) – for 3.5 years, Massimelli (“Taranto”) – for a year, Dzekkini (“Perugia”) – for 3 years, Wilson (“Lazio”) – for life, Rossi (“Perugia”) – for 3 years, Cordoba (“Avellino”) – for 1 year and 2 months, Merlot (“Lecce”) – for 1.5 years, Morini (“M Ilan “) – for a year, Chiodi (” Milan “) – for 6 months, Negrisolo (” Pescara “) – for a year, Montesi (” Lazio “) – for 4 months, Colomba (” Bologna “) – for 3 months, Damiani (Napoli) – for 4 months.

However, after a successful performance by the Italian national team at the 1982 World Cup, amnesties followed. Forgiveness did not receive only the president of Milan Colombo.

A similar scandal occurred in Italy in 1986, and it was also called “Totonero”. However, the most high-profile case of corruption and illegal betting occurred in the 21st century. And also in Italy.

Calcopoli: 2006

On April 22, 2006, an Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport published an article with a transcript of telephone conversations of Juventus CEO Luciano Moggi and heads of the Italian Judges Association. A few weeks later, Juve won Serie A, and then resigned. First, most of the club’s leadership left, and then the head of the Italian Football Federation, Franco Carraro, resigned.

What was so about the transcript from the Gazzetta dello Sport article? In those conversations, Moji agreed to appoint the “right” referees to the Juventus games. Representatives of Lazio, Milan, Regina and Fiorentina did the same. That is, clubs and referees have agreed among themselves that specific referees will be appointed to specific games.

Such a scheme was needed not only to ensure tournament results, but also to ensure winning bets. During the investigation, “Calciopoli” more than once rumors surfaced that people involved in conspiracy were actively betting on guaranteed outcomes.
In July 2006, the Italian Football Federation imposed penalties for clubs. Juventus deprived Scudetto 2006 and sent to Serie B with nine points withdrawn, Milan lost 44 points in the 2005/06 season and eight points in the next season, 15 points were removed from Fiorentina in the 2006/2007 season, with “Lazio” was removed three points in Serie A season 2006/07. All clubs were suspended from participation in European competitions.

Functionaries and judges also received punishments. The referee de Santis was suspended from football for 4.5 years, Franco Carraro was fined 40 thousand euros, Vice-President of the Italian Football Federation Innocenzo Mazzini was suspended for life from football, the chairman of the National Professional League Adriano Galliani was suspended from football for five months, and Luciano Modgi already in 2011 received a life suspension from football and 5 years and 4 months in prison. However, he managed to escape prison due to the expiration of the statute of limitations for the crime.

But not everything is so simple in this scandal. Listening to conversations, whose transcripts were later published, was carried out by the largest Italian telecom operator Telecom Italia. The board of directors of the company was the owner of Inter Massimo Moratti. The largest shareholder of the company Pirelli, which acts as the title sponsor of Inter, also helped organize the wiretap. And after Carraro left the post of head of the Italian Football Federation, his place was taken by Guido Rossi, a shareholder of Inter. After Calciopoli, he got a place in Telecom Italia.

Telecom more than once fell into scandals around wiretapping of important persons. An investigation was launched against the company that found traces of the CIA and Italian intelligence. The connection with Inter has been proven.
In the 2010s, Luciano Modgi actively tried to prove the guilt of Inter. And he did it: “Internationale” was recognized as the main guilty of working with judges. But the club is no longer in danger, yet 13 years have passed.

However, this was not the last corruption scandal in Italy.