(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Russia
being banned from the Winter Olympics stole the headlines but may also
have overshadowed an otherwise sorry year for sport in terms of
It was a particularly damaging year for sporting officials, not least from the world of football and FIFA in particular.
Guam football federation president Richard Lai pleaded guilty in April
to taking bribes worth almost $1 mn while Costa Rican Eduardo Li,
Guatemala's Brayan Jimenez, Venezuela's Rafael Esquivel and Julio Rocha
of Nicaragua all received lifetime bans, with Nigeria's Amos Adamu
handed a two-year ban.
Hector Trujillo of Guatemala, the former
general secretary of his country's football federation, was the first
person brought down in the widespread FIFA corruption scandal to be
sentenced to jail, given eight months by a judge in New York in October.
more, Jose Maria Marin, former head of Brazil's Football Confederation
and Juan Angel Napout, former head of Paraguayan football, were
convicted of corruption earlier this month for accepting more than $17mn
in bribes between them.
The likes of Michel Platini, the former UEFA
president, and Jerome Valcke, the former FIFA general secretary, both
failed in their appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to have
their FIFA bans overturned while other prominent figures were embroiled
in the ever-widening scandal.
FIFA decided to bar Russian
vice-president Vitaly Mutko from its ruling council in March over his
involvement in the Russian state-sponsored doping scandal exposed by the
World Anti-Doping Agency-sponsored McLaren report.
Urine samples swapped
June, Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren told German television channel
ARD that doping by Russian footballers had been covered up by swapping
It was a bad year for Mutko who was also banned from
the Games for life by the International Olympic Committee at the same
time that Russia were excluded from the Pyeongchang Winter Games next
Mutko, though, remains head of the Russia 2018 World Cup
organising committee and a close ally of Russian President Vladimir
Russian athletes can compete as neutrals in South Korea,
provided they adhere to strict conditions and have never been convicted
But the number of Russian athletes banned for doping at
the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics rose to 43 recently, and the country has
already lost 13 of the 33 medals they originally won.
Sky credibility damaged
was unable to avoid the negative headlines as Tour de France and Vuelta
a Espana winner Chris Froome returned an adverse analytical finding for
asthma medication salbutamol.
Froome wasn't suspended but may yet be
if he cannot prove his innocence — his urine sample contained twice the
permitted amount of salbutamol.
Coming on the back of the now filed
UK Anti-Doping Agency investigation into former Tour winner Bradley
Wiggins's reception of a mystery package at the 2011 Criterium du
Dauphine race, this has been a damaging year for the credibility of Team
Sky — an outfit that has long boasted of its 'zero tolerance policy to
It was the year of the comeback for Maria Sharapova
following her doping suspension for using meldonium, but that brought
controversy as many of her rivals expressed displeasure.
Eugenie Bouchard branded her 'a cheater in May and said she should have
been banned for life while former world number one Caroline Wozniacki
criticised US Open organisers for putting the Russian on a show court.
to corruption and Carlos Nuzman resigned as Brazilian Olympic Committee
president in October after he was charged over a $2mn vote buying
Former world athletics chief Lamine Diack and his son Papa
Massata were also investigated as authorities in France and Brazil
followed the money trail to try to prove Rio had bought votes to win the
right to host the 2016 Olympics.
Former world sprint champion and
four-time Olympic silver medallist Frankie Fredericks was caught up in
the affair and had to resign from posts at both the IOC and IAAF after
he received almost $300,000 from Papa Massata Diack.
The two Diacks
had already been banned for life by the IAAF in 2016 after accepting
bribes to cover up doping by Russian athletes.