A look at instances when a dodgy game decided outcomes for other teams

To take out any chance of corrupt practices, AIFF is sending their Integrity Officer Javed Siraj to supervise the Lajong-Aizawl FC in what would be I-League’s title-deciding game on Sunday

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Aizawl, top of the league table on 36 points from 17 matches, need a draw to clinch a historic maiden league title.

Since the final deciding league game is between sides coming from the Northeastern belt and with Shillong Lajong FC– fifth in the table — have nothing to gain from victory apart from pride. There were concerns about the spirit of the game to be played between the two highlanders.

“We will be sending Siraj a day in advance that is on Saturday for the crucial game. Usually, he reaches a venue on match day but owing to the magnitude of the tie, we are making this exception,” a top AIFF official told IANS. Siraj will be tasked to brief the players about the evils of this malpractice.

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As AIFF decided to send their Integrity officer to avoid any malpractice for the important final game, footballcounter takes a look at matches when similar instances have played out to question the spirit of the game.

  1. Disgrace of Gijón
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An Algerian fan waves a bank note showing their disgust at what they think is a fixed drawn match between the two teams West Germany v Austria World Cup 1982 played in Gijon.

Perhaps the most original case of such instance is the Disgrace of Gijón, a name given to a 1982 FIFA World Cup football match played between West Germany and Austria at the El Molinón stadium, Gijón, Spain, on 25 June 1982. The match was the last game of the first-round Group 2, with Algeria and Chile having played the day before. With the outcome of that match already decided, a win by one or two goals for West Germany would result in both them and Austria qualifying at the expense of Algeria, who had beaten West Germany in the first game. West Germany took the lead after 10 minutes, thereafter the remaining 80 minutes was characterized by few serious attempts by either side to score. Both sides were accused of match-fixing although FIFA ruled that neither team broke any rules.

2. Galactic-oh nos

In one of Football’s most scandalous episodes, Union Sportive Valenciennes-Anzin and Olympique de Marseille(OM), were exposed by Valenciennes, whose players Jacques Glassmann, Jorge Burruchaga and Christophe Robert were contacted by Marseille player Jean-Jacques Eydelie, to let OM win and, more importantly, not to injure any OM player ahead of the UEFA Champions League final.

Robert alleged that he and team-mate Jorge Barrachaga were offered a bribe by Marseille – the reigning European champion – midfielder Jean-Jacques Eydelie and general manager Jean Pierre Berenes to throw what was the league-deciding game which was won 1-0. That tainted league title would be the last thing it won for a while. It was stripped of its 1992-1993 championship, relegated to the second division and barred from all European competition, denying it the right to defend its 1993 UEFA Champions League title.

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  1. Euro 2004, Group C: Denmark vs Sweden
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Sweden go wild after Mattias Jonson hooks the ball home to level the scores a minute from time and send Italy packing

Although this game is less in question there have always been conspiracy theories. The 2–2 draw between Denmark and Sweden ensured the elimination of Italy, which simultaneously played its last group match against already-eliminated Bulgaria because UEFA’s tiebreakers took into consideration head-to-head results before overall goal difference. Because both Sweden and Denmark had lower-scoring draws with Italy, and because both teams had beaten Bulgaria, it was known prior to the final pair of group matches that a draw of 2–2 or the higher score would eliminate Italy regardless of the result of their match with Bulgaria.

  1. AC Milan vs. Brescia

Another instance which raised questions was on the club scene in Italy at the end of the 1992-93 season, when AC Milan met lowly Brescia on the penultimate weekend of the season. Milan needed only a point to be sure of taking the title ahead of neighbours Internazionale, while Brescia thought that a point would be good enough for them to avoid relegation.

For over 80 minutes, the two teams engaged in a game of cat-and-mouse, with both sides wasting chances. Then, in the 82nd minute, Demetrio Albertini let rip with a cracker to put the Milanese in the lead. This was not in the script, and Brescia duly equalised two minutes later when they mysteriously found themselves with a huge overlap. Little good did it do them as other results went against them, and Brescia went down.