By 90Min
September 30, 2017

We like to think of football as pure, something for enjoyment that unites people the world over.

But football and money are inextricably linked going back more than 100 years. And where there is cash and an opportunity to exploit for gain, certain individuals will always take advantage.

Here's a look at seven of the most corrupt figures in football history...


Mohammed bin Hammam

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Formerly the chairman of the Qatar Football Association and later president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Mohammed bin Hammam was issued a life-time ban by FIFA's ethics committee in 2011.

At that time, he had been preparing to challenge Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency, but was suspended when an investigation was launched into allegations he offered bribes for votes.

That lifetime ban was eventually overturned on appeal by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but bin Hammam was subsequently issued a second one in 2012 as a result of 'conflicts of interest' that emerged relating to his role as AFC president.


Marco Paoloni

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Giuseppe Signori, Mauro Bressan (scorer of an iconic bicycle in the Champions League for Fiorentina) and Cristiano Doni were the most famous names involved in the match fixing scandal that rocked Italian football in 2011, but the actions of lower league goalkeeper Marco Paoloni were shocking.


Paoloni was allegedly considered to be a central figure in the organised fixes, himself going as far as drugging his own team-mates at Cremonense in order to fix one specific game.

He was found to have spiked water bottles with tranquilisers that made the Cremonense team tired and lethargic. The effects didn't quickly wear off either as one player apparently almost crashed his car driving home from the game.


Chuck Blazer

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It was the late Chuck Blazer's whistle blowing and informing that helped the FBI-led investigation and brought about the 2015 FIFA corruption arrests, but the New Yorker himself was by no means an innocent bystander when it came to bribery and tax fraud.

CONCACAF General Secretary Blazer was initially investigated for failure to file personal income tax returns and quickly agreed to inform as part of the rest of the investigation.

In 2013, he pleaded guilty to as many as 10 criminal charges that included money laundering, wire fraud and other offences relating to taxes and banking.


Erich Mielke

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Better remembered by history as head of East Germany's notorious Stasi for more than 30 years until the fall of the Berlin wall, Erich Mielke also had his hands deep in East German football.

Mielke was president of the larger SV Dynamo sports club, but was a particular fan of BFC Dynamo, a club established from the earlier Dynamo Berlin. And Mielke wasn't backward in coming forward to ensure his team had the best of everything.

In 1954, he ordered that Dynamo Dresden's player transfer to his club, while East German sports throughout the country's existence was dogged by doping suspicions. BFC Dynamo later won 10 East German titles in a row between 1979 and 1988.


Jack Warner

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Trinidadian businessman and politician Jack Warner served as a FIFA Executive Committee member for 28 years and as CONCACAF president for 21 years, until his blanket resignation from all roles in 2011.

He quit under immense pressure from years of corruption allegations, relating to everything from black market ticket sales, bidding processes, television rights, fraud and mismanagement.

CONCACAF even later published a report in 2013 concluding Warner had defrauded both CONCACAF and FIFA, while he was arrested as part of the FIFA corruption scandal in 2015 and handed a lifetime ban from all football activities later that year.


Bernard Tapie

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Marseille were stripped of their 1992/93 Ligue 1 title because of corrupt actions of then president Bernard Tapie after he instructed one of his players to offer bribes to three Valenciennes players in the final domestic game of the season.

The idea was to ensure that Marseille were injury free for the inaugural Champions League final against AC Milan a few days later. Jean-Jacques Eydelie was the individual asked to make the connection as he had previously played with some of the Valenciennes squad at Nantes.

Marseille went on to win the Champions League but were ultimately stripped of their Ligue 1 title as a result of the scandal and were relegated due to financial irregularities. Tapie has also long been accused of bribery and paying people off by countless others.


Sepp Blatter

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For years there were doubts and suspicions surrounding long serving FIFA president Sepp Blatter and whether his dealings were above board or not.


There were allegations over corruption, largely relating to bidding processes, as well as financial mismanagement and other shady dealings.

The 2015 FIFA corruption scandal marked the end for Blatter. Numerous arrests were made and the Swiss later resigned as the scandal rumbled on, despite winning re-election as president.

He was then investigated over payments made to then UEFA president Michel Platini, banned for 90 days while the investigation was carried out, and later banned for eight years from all football activities, reduced to six on appeal.

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