LONDON (AP) – Manchester City is not the first high-profile football club to be caught up in a scandal.
The Premier League has accused City of breaching a host of financial regulations, and the club could face a range of punishments including a fine or a deduction of points.
As City mounts its defence, The Associated Press (AP) takes a look at scandals that hit have Europe’s leading leagues.
Marseille was the dominant club in France and a rising force in Europe under club President Bernard Tapie.
Marseille was playing Valenciennes in the league just six days before facing AC Milan in the European Cup final, and three Valenciennes were approached with bribes to throw the game. Tapie was convicted of rigging the match and later jailed.
On May 20, 1993, defender Jacques Glassmann, forward Christophe Robert and winger Jorge Burruchaga were asked via middleman Jean-Jacques Eydelie – a former midfielder – to go easy.
Robert, who went off early in the game, and Burruchaga, a World Cup winner with Argentina in 1986, accepted the money.
Glassmann refused and then blew the whistle on the plot. He was awarded the 1995 FIFA Fair Play Award. Marseille beat Valenciennes and downed giant Milan 1-0 with a header from defender Basile Boli. Marseille remains the only French team to win the competition.
Prosecutors charged Eydelie, who confessed to arranging the phone conversation between Marseille general manager Jean-Pierre Bernès and the three players. Marseille kept its Champions League title but wasn’t allowed to defend it. Marseille was stripped of its French league title, having won the previous four in a dominant era, and demoted to the second division.
Tapie, who died in 2021, was ordered to stand down and in 1997 he started an eight-month prison term. Eydelie, Burruchaga, Robert were also sentenced to jail terms in a corruption scandal that sent shockwaves through French football. The club did not win the league again until 2010.
European football’s governing body has a hit-and-miss record punishing clubs suspected of cheating.
Clubs alleged to have fixed games for betting scams in the Champions League qualifying rounds and the Europa League have been banned from UEFA competitions for up to 10 seasons.
In higher-profile cases, Anderlecht and Manchester City won at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to overturn European bans of one and two seasons, respectively. City’s case was regarding ‘Financial Fair Play’ rules. Anderlecht advanced to the 1984 UEFA Cup final by beating Nottingham Forest 3-0 after a two-goal loss in the first leg. In Brussels, a penalty awarded to Anderlecht and a disallowed stoppage-time goal for Forest raised suspicions.
In 1997, Belgian media and legal cases revealed Anderlecht’s president admitted paying the Spanish referee – who had since died in a car crash – 13 years earlier.
UEFA’s executive committee imposed a one-season ban from European competitions.
Anderlecht won its appeal in 1998 when CAS ruled UEFA did not follow its proper judicial process.
In 2020, Man City overturned a two-year ban imposed by a UEFA-appointed club finance panel. CAS judges decided the allegations of inflating sponsorship deals and breaching ‘Financial Fair Play’ rules were not proven or the evidence was time-barred.
UEFA has been on more solid ground in match-fixing cases. CAS upheld a 10-season ban for Skenderbeu from Albania, imposed in 2018, and an eight-season ban in 2009 for Pobeda of North Macedonia.