It had some competition but without question, 2015 was sport’s year of scandal.
Few images in the last decade are more indelible than that of Fifa officials being led off by Swiss police from the Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich, their longunassailable guard finally breached by a massive FBI anticorruption investigation. By the year’s end, president Sepp Blatter, his heir apparent Michel Platini, and secretary general Jérôme Valcke were all out of the picture; the leadership of the game across the Americas was also in tatters.
That only came after the curious interlude of one more successful presidential campaign for Blatter, of course, who leaned hard on his reputation for generosity within the game’s emerging nations to see off the threat of Jordan’s reformist Prince Ali bin Hussein.
But just as Fifa was becoming a byword for sporting malfeasance, a bigger scandal emerged through the world of athletics. In November, former IAAF president Lamine Diack and his son Papa Massata were placed at the centre of a doping and bribery crisis when it emerged they had deferred bans for Russian athletes who had failed drug tests. That, it turned out, was only the appetiser – a prelude to the McLaren Report, which uncovered systematic, state-backed cheating by the Russian authorities ahead of London 2012 and Sochi 2014. The response to those revelations would define the years to follow in Olympic sport.
“I don’t want 100 per cent of a cupcake. I want a decent-sized slice of a fucking enormous cream gateau.”
Barry Hearn, chairman, Matchroom Sport – Issue 76
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- Baku in Azerbaijan stages inaugural European Games