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Biggest Football Controversies

Chickengate

In 2011 Mexico were preparing for the Gold Cup, the biennial CONCAF Championship featuring countries from North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. However, on the eve of the tournament, five players, including first-choice goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa and defender Francisco Rodriguez, tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol an anabolic agent commonly used by bodybuilders and celebrities to help them ...

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The headbutt that shocked the world

the result – Italy beat France in a penalty shoot-out – but for the incident in extra time which not only saw one of the world’s great players event off but also ended his star-studded career. Even many years after the event, people continue to speculate as to why Zinedine Zidane decided to heat butt Italian defender Marco Materazzi. Zidane ...

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Kung-Fu fighting

It made headlines around the world, whilst the press conference that followed it became almost as famous for the bizarre philosophical statements offered up by the man at the centre of the controversy, Manchester United striker Eric Cantona. On January 25th, 1995, his United side were playing Crystal Palace in a  league match at Selhurst Park in South London. The ...

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The Referee who kicked back

Tony Chapron was a highly respected French referee. He had been refereeing in the top flight of French football since 2004, and had taken charge of more than 400 games, including the French Cup final in 2014. And  his services were also in demand abroad, and he had also officiated in the Chinese Super League. He had also taken charge ...

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The World Cup fix

The 1978 World Cup has claims to be one of the most controversial ever.  A Welsh referee disallowed a Brazil gaol because he judged it was full-time as the ball was about to cross the line, and  a Scottish player was sent home for taking a banned stimulant. And, meanwhile, off the pitch, terrible things were happening away from the ...

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The Hillsborough Disaster

The Hillsborough Disaster refers to the events of April 15, 1989 in which  numerous Liverpool fans were crushed at the Leppings Lane end of Sheffield Wednesday’s ground during Liverpool’s FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. Due to overcrowding in a standing only section of the ground too many Liverpool fans were allowed into an enclosed space, and 95 ...

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The European Super League

Just when football thought it had seen its fair share of scandals, along comes the European Super League (ESL). A group of 12 men, with no consultation with players, managers, or supporters – with one of them sneeringly referring to those who have slavishly followed their clubs for years as legacy fans – decided to form a separate breakaway league. ...

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The day that Keane walked out on Ireland

Roy Keane is arguably one of the best players that Ireland has ever produced. A brilliant intelligent footballer, he was one of the best midfielders that the Premier League has ever produced, with a fiercely competitive spirt, and an indominable will win. He also had notoriously high standards, expecting the best of himself and all round him, Even now, as ...

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France and the quota system

In 2011 French football was engulfed in controversy when it was reported that the country’s Football Federation had approved a quota system to limit the number of black players and those of North African origin being eligible to play for the national team. It was alleged that a plan was in place to limit the number of non-white youngsters enter ...

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