Champions League Scandals: History and Lessons Learned

Football is the most popular sport on the planet, attracting the attention of millions of spectators and generating huge amounts of money. Of course, there have been some amazing scandals in this sport. Fixed matches, referee mistakes, or cheating with doping.

The Champions League is not without all this. Over its long history, quite a few scandals have happened here, which we will talk about. In connection with this, the VAR system was adopted, which helps judges assign, or not, fines and other punishments to players, and control over doping and other prohibited substances has also been strengthened.

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Referee mistakes at the match “Milan” – “Liverpool” (2007)

This was the second Champions League final between the teams in three years. In 2005, in Istanbul, Liverpool managed to win back three goals and win in a penalty shootout, so the Milanese club was clearly aiming for revenge. Perhaps referee Herbert Fandel also sympathized with the Italians, because he made several mistakes in favor of Milan.

The most notable was the first goal of Carlo Ancelotti’s team, when, after Andrea Pirlo’s free-kick, the ball hit Filippo Inzaghi’s hand and flew into the goal. The referee considered that the veteran forward scored with his shoulder, but the replays showed that the striker played with his hand. Later, Inzaghi scored the second goal against Reina, and the British managed to win back only one goal.

Guardiola on the podium

In 2018, Spaniard Mateu Lahoz, who officiated the Manchester City – Liverpool (1:2) match, added to the collection of refereeing errors. One day, like Kosshoi, he was let down by an assistant who mistakenly called Leroy Sane offside. Meanwhile, the ball bounced towards the City midfielder from the foot of Reds midfielder James Milner. If this had not happened, the score would have become 2:0, and it is unknown how it would have ended.

Plus, the ball hit Milner in the hand in the Liverpool penalty area, there was no whistle, and during the break Pep Guardiola lost his temper, telling his compatriot everything he thought about his work. As a result, the City head coach had to watch the second half of the match from the stands.

Rote Santa Cruz: “Promising” player without goals

Paraguayan Santa Cruz has been ballast for Bayern for many years. For eight seasons, the forward was considered young and promising. But in the end, he never lived up to the expectations of the Munich club. Santa Cruz appeared often on the field, but rarely scored goals. But this did not stop him from winning all kinds of trophies with the club.

One of the awards was the Champions League Cup, which Bayern won in the spring of 2001. Of course, that championship was no exception. Santa Cruz had no merit in winning the cup. The team became the winner thanks to completely different athletes.

Blood of Anders Frisk

As a rule, referees are scolded, and in September 2004, the management of Roma had to apologize to Anders Frisk, who officiated the match between the Wolves and Dynamo Kyiv. Due to the ardent Italian fans, this meeting lasted only a half. It ended with the score 1:0 in favor of the guests, and before leaving for the break, the hosts’ defender Mexes deliberately stepped on the foot of the opposing Latvian forward Verpakovsky.

The Frenchman received a red card, and an unidentified object flew into the head of the Swedish referee on the way to the locker room. They stopped Frisk’s bleeding, the break dragged on, and after 45 minutes the match was canceled due to lack of security guarantees. The referees left the Olimpico stadium late at night, accompanied by carabinieri, Roma was given a technical defeat and ordered to play several matches without spectators.

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The Champions League is a huge tournament, with its own stars, bright moments, and high-profile scandals. If you remember them all, even a huge book would not be enough to describe them all. We just have to hope for fair play and enjoy it.

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