Luis Suarez and the 15 Most Damaging Scandals in EPL History

Michael Cummings@MikeCummings37World Football Lead WriterJanuary 11, 2012

Luis Suarez and the 15 Most Damaging Scandals in EPL History

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    Luis Suarez wasn't the first Premier League player to spark a scandal. He won't be the last either.

    Since its inception in 1992, the Premier League has served as a breeding ground for scandals. Imagine the worst in human beings, then tick off the list: Racism, sexism, homophobia, infidelity, violence, greed and drug abuse. It's all been done before.

    With that in mind, here are 15 of the most damaging scandals that have rocked the Premier League.

    So far.

Joey Barton Jail Term

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    In the wee hours of a December night in 2007, Joey Barton found himself under arrest after an incident in Liverpool. The midfielder, then 25 and playing for Newcastle, was charged with common assault and affray.

    Barton's first hearing brought bad news. The magistrate ruled Barton to remain in custody until the next hearing "for the protection of the general public." Barton marked the New Year behind bars.

    Magistrate Carol Myers said there were no conditions to satisfy the requirements of the Bail Act.

    She said there was a substantial risk of Barton offending again because the new offences took place while on bail.

    She added: "I also have to consider the safety of the public - you lashed out indiscriminately."

    Barton's next hearing in May 2008 brought more bad news. He was found guilty of both charges and sentenced to six months in the slammer.

    In the months between then and the incident, it had been revealed that Barton had punched a man 20 times before knocking some teeth loose on a teenager. Barton's judge called it a "violent and cowardly act."

    Barton finally received good news in July, when he was released after serving 74 days of his six-month sentence.

Woodgate and Bowyer

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    In 2000, Leeds United players Jonathan Woodgate and Lee Bowyer were implicated in a violent incident near a Leeds nightclub that left multiple victims with severe injuries.

    Both players were charged with affray and grievous bodily harm with intent. Their first trial collapsed, but after a second trial, Woodgate was found guilty of affray. Woodgate escaped the charges of GBH, and Bowyer was cleared of all charges.

    Leeds United fined Bowyer anyway. Bowyer complained and was promptly transfer-listed. He left the club near the end of the 2002-03 season.

    Woodgate was also banned by the FA from selection for the 2002 World Cup.

    Bowyer settled with the victims out of court in 2005. Though Bowyer was never convicted of anything, the incident served as just one item in a long list of incidents throughout his career.

Sol Campbell Abuse

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    Sol Campbell broke Tottenham hearts when he completed a free transfer to Arsenal in 2001. The fans never forgave him.

    By 2008, Campbell was playing with Portsmouth. During Portsmouth's 2-0 win over Tottenham early that year, Tottenham fans directed "indecent chanting" at their former idol. It was so bad that a police investigation followed.

    One policeman, in fact, was suspected in the case. Sixteen suspects emerged (pictured). Eventually, 11 were charged, six banned and five cautioned.

    Campbell remained a hated figure in 2010.

Tevez and Mascherano—But Mostly Tevez

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    In May 2007, Carlos Tevez scored the winning goal as West Ham United beat Manchester United at Old Trafford on the final day of the season. The victory kept West Ham in the Premier League for another season.

    No big deal, right? Actually, it was. Let's back up.

    The previous August, Tevez suddenly declared he would no longer play for Corinthians, the club with which he had won the Brazilian title in 2005. Not surprisingly, English clubs went on alert. Surprisingly, though, Tevez and Javier Mascherano signed with West Ham.

    Why? Only West Ham agreed to the terms of MSI, the shadowy third-party group that owned the rights to both players.

    To make a long story short, the FA found West Ham guilty of breaking transfer rules and fined the club £5.5 million. But English football's governing body allowed Tevez to play the rest of the season anyway.

    As critics pointed out, the FA was quite soft on West Ham, who, thanks to Tevez's presence, remained in the lucrative Premiership for another season.

Andy Gray and Richard Keys

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    In January 2011, Sky Sports broadcasters Andy Gray and Richard Keys were caught mocking a female official during Liverpool's win over Wolves. The two felt aggrieved over an offside call that the official, Sian Massey, had made correctly.

    Outrage followed, as did fresh evidence of sexist behavior by both men.

    Both apologized but both were fired.

Kolo Touré and Diet Pills

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    In March 2011, the FA informed Manchester City defender Kolo Touré that he had failed a drug test. City suspended Touré until the investigation finished, at which point the FA passed down a six-month ban.

    First, Touré expressed relief. The ban could have been much longer, he reasoned. Then, sensationally, it was revealed (by Arsene Wenger) that Touré had failed the test because he had taken diet pills that belonged to his wife.

    Touré later lost £740,000 in fines.

    Six months and nearly three quarters of a million pounds. All for diet pills.

Test? What Test?

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    Poor Kolo Touré. He earned ridicule for taking his wife's diet pills. Had he been smarter, he would have just skipped the test altogether.

    That's what Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand did in September 2003. The little stunt earned him an eight-month ban and a fine of £50,000.

    United appealed, citing the case of Manchester City's Christian Negouai. There were, however, a few differences between the two situations.

    Ferdinand ought to have considered himself fortunate. FIFA and the FA both wanted a 12-month ban.

Adrian Mutu: Drugs and Breach of Contract

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    And then there's the case of Adrian Mutu.

    In 2004, the Romanian international failed a drug test and was unceremoniously released by Chelsea. Rumors circulated that Mutu had tested positive for cocaine, a charge he denied.

    Chelsea initially absorbed a loss of £15.8 million, the sum spent to bring Mutu to London from Parma. Later, though, Chelsea won £14.65 million from Mutu for breach of contract.

    Mutu wasn't done. He failed another test in January 2010 and received a nine-month ban. It was later reduced to six months, but Mutu was again suspended due to breach of contract.

Harry Redknapp and Tax Evasion

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    Harry Redknapp and Tottenham Hotspur are currently riding high at third place in the Premier League. Redknapp's personal life, however, is a mess.

    In November 2011, reports surfaced that Redknapp would stand trial in January 2012 for tax evasion. The charges stemmed from Redknapp's tenure at Portsmouth. Redknapp allegedly received two payments totaling $295,000 from then-Portsmouth chairman Milan Mandaric.

    The two allegedly concealed the payments “with intent to defraud and to the prejudice of HM Revenue and Customs as a result of or in connection with (Harry) Redknapp’s employment and as a reward for services.”

    The trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 23.

Kung Fu Fighting

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    In January 1995, Eric Cantona earned a red card during Manchester United's match against Crystal Palace. The United midfielder became upset and attacked a Palace fan with a flying kick into the stands (video at left).

    United banned Cantona for the rest of the season and fined him £20,000. The FA extended the ban until September.

    Later, at a news conference, Cantona said simply: "When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea. Thank you very much."

    Cantona later admitted he was wrong but added he did what he did for the fans. Nice.

    Now he's running for President of France. Double nice.

Ryan Giggs' Super-Injunction

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    You have to hand it to Ryan Giggs. At 38, he's still a great player. And he has cajones, too.

    In 2011, details started leaking about a so-called super-injunction levied by a professional footballer against the press to stop the latter from publishing details about an alleged affair with British glamor model Imogen Thomas.

    Giggs, who is married, turned out to be that footballer. His identity was revealed thanks in part to Twitter and the Streisand Effect.

    But not before everyone had a little fun at Giggs' expense. And not before Giggs tried to sue Twitter.

Wayne Rooney and Prostitution

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    Let's face it. Wayne Rooney leads a charmed life, not least of all because he somehow managed to convince Coleen to marry him.

    And that was even after he admitted to visiting a prostitute in 2004 while Rooney and Coleen were dating. "Young and stupid"? Yes, very.

    Other allegations have surfaced since then, as well.

Ashley Cole Catch-All

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    This slide will serve as a catch-all for Ashley Cole's scandals.


    Part I

    In 2006, Cole's agent had his license suspended and received a £100,000 fine for his role in a tapping-up scandal involving Cole and Chelsea.

    The punishment stemmed from an incident in a London hotel room in January 2005, when Cole was still an Arsenal player. That night, Cole and his agent met with Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho and chief executive Peter Kenyon, a breach of the FA's rules on transfers.

    Cole, not surprisingly, later transferred to Chelsea from Arsenal for £20 million.


    Part II

    Cole began his relationship with singer Cheryl Tweedy (later Cheryl Cole) in 2004. They married in 2006. The relationship hit a snag in 2008 when allegations of infidelity surfaced (Cole sued over the stories). 

    The couple separated in 2010 following more allegations. They divorced in September 2010.

John Terry Catch-All

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    This slide will serve as a catch-all for John Terry's scandals.


    Part I

    In 2001, a young Terry was involved in an ugly incident (see No. 7) with American tourists in the aftermath of 9/11.


    Part II

    As we've previously written:

    The allegations are disputed, but the married Terry allegedly had an affair with the former girlfriend of Terry's former teammate. If (the allegations) not true, it's mighty strange that Terry would resort to a super injunction to keep them unpublished.


    Part III

    The whole alleged racism thing.


    Part IV

    This guy is still captain of the England national team. What a joke.

Luis Suarez

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    You know the story. Earlier this season Suarez was involved in an alleged incident of on-field racism against Manchester United's Patrice Evra.

    Evra and United pressed charges. The FA handed down an eight-match ban and hefty fine.

    Liverpool supported Suarez, somewhat blindly. Suarez issued a ridiculous statement claiming his words would have been OK in South America.