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Let’s face it, nothing can come quite as close to the thrill we experience when watching our favorite athletes give it their all, be it on the court, ring, or field. However, beyond the joyous cheers and the agony that comes with every inevitable loss, lies a darker underbelly that has tarnished the integrity of numerous sporting events—the wild world of match-fixing. Over the years, many have tried to influence the outcome of games by corrupting game officials and players alike with promises of money and power.

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Unfortunately, as illegal as this practice may be, it’s still prevalent till today. Despite the abundant and awesome promotions for bettors, even some of the best free bet no deposit casinos and sportsbooks aren’t convincing enough. The way greedy punters see it is, there’s no better way than to have a fool proof system where you know you’ll be profiting from that wager. People want easy money and to bet on a sure thing.

From jaw-dropping scandals on the track to eyebrow-raising moments on the football pitch, we’re taking a look at some of the most controversial match-fixing scandals to ever hit the sporting world.

1. The Calciopoli Scandal

Back in the early 2000s, four of Italy’s biggest football clubs, including AC Milan, Fiorentina, Lazio, and Juventus, conspired to fix the results of their matches by pressuring referees. Regarded as one of the biggest scandals to hit the world of professional sports, the prime culprits, Lazio, Fiorentina, and Juventus, were demoted to the second division. While AC Milan managed to maintain their spot in the first division, they were ultimately disqualified from the Champions League that season and began 2007 with a 15-point penalty.

Although all four times were caught up in the controversy, Juventus role was the most prominent, as the investigation found that Luciano Moggi, the team’s general manager, had attempted to sway the UEFA’s referees’ commission vice-chairman. Moggi was handed a life ban from football as a result. Despite this, Juventus’ best players, including Pavel Nedved, Giorgio Chiellini, Del Piero, and Buffon, remained loyal to the club.

2. Crashgate

Former Renault F1 driver Nelson Piquet Jr. was accused of purposely crashing his car during the Singapore Grand Prix, helping his teammate Fernando Alonso secure the win. The incident, which took place in 2008, came to light a year later when Piquet was dropped by Renault. Following an internal investigation, it was revealed that then-Renault boss Flavio Briatore ordered Piquet to deliberately crash the car to pave the way for Alonso to win the race.

Piquet later revealed that he acted out of fear because he thought it would secure his future in Formula 1. For his part, an FIA hearing absolved him of any responsibility for the deliberate crash. However, it did find Renault guilty of using the crash to gain an advantage for their other driver, Fernando Alonso. For their crimes, Renault was disqualified from the Constructors’ Championship as well as suspended for two years. Team leaders Flavior Briatore and Pay Symons were both banned from Formula 1, but both bans were later retracted.

3. Nikolay Davydenko 

For years, the Orange Prokom tournament in the coastal town of Sopot in Poland went really unnoticed, with little to no media coverage. However, that all changed in 2017, when a scandal involving Russian tennis player Nikolay Davydenko and Martin Vassallo Arguello changed the face of tennis forever. When Davydenko, ranked world number 4, took on Arguello, ranked significantly below him, there was an obvious favorite to win, with the Russian player winning the first set and taking a lead in the second. However, despite this, a large number of bets were placed in favor of Arguello to secure the win at the start of the match.

Mark Davies, the managing director of betting giant Betfair, was alerted to the suspicious bets by the company’s legal team and informed match officials, all while Davydenko, who was winning the game, called for a medical time-out before the third set before ultimately conceding the match. In an unprecedented step of this type, Betfair cancelled all bets placed on the match and launched an investigation, which later revealed that a group of Russian gamblers had wagered millions of pounds for Arguello to win as they knew the outcome of the game before its conclusion.

However, both Davydenko and Arguello denied that the match was rigged, leaving investigators unable to hold either party responsible for the unlikely turn of events. Although they were unable to find a guilty party, it led the International Tennis Federation to launch a sweeping review of match-fixing and establish a committee to ensure these practices are addressed.

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