8 Conspiracy Theories in World Football

Mikhail Turner@MikhailTurnerContributor IIIApril 6, 2012

8 Conspiracy Theories in World Football

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    Fans and the media are always ready to come up with some great conspiracy theories when it looks like certain teams are favoured or others are wronged.

    One of the most recent theories involves everyone's favourite club, Barcelona, and you'll learn more about that in the slides.

    Whether or not these theories are the real deal, fans will remember them well, and no one holds a grudge better than fans.

    Here are some of the biggest conspiracy theories in World Football history.

Nike Makes Brazil Play Ronaldo in 1998 World Cup Final

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    Ronaldo was an integral part of Brazil's run to the final in the 1998 World Cup.  What happened right before that final though is up for debate.

    Ronaldo apparently fell ill the night before the final and was not going to appear for his side. Rumours have it that Nike forced its hand with the Brazilian FA and made sure the team's star performer was on hand to showcase the company's brand.

    Things didnt work out too well for Nike or Ronaldo as Zidane stole the spotlight and led France, who were sponsored by Adidas, to a victory while Ronaldo was completely ineffective.

    You can read about it all here.

Barcelona in with Some Arm Smugglers

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    Is Pep Guardiola akin to Nicolas Cage in the "Lord of War?" One Syrian TV station seems to think so. As reported on Who Ate All the Pies, one TV station has the idea that Barcelona's formation depicts arms smuggling routes to Syrian rebels.

    They even had video evidence. Talk about a conspiracy theory.

Howard Webb Is Manchester United's Best Player

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    For the most part, bigger teams usually seem to get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to key calls in close game. In England, a lot of viewers feel this is most prevalent when Manchester United is one of the teams involved.

    Especially when Howard Webb is in charge of the team's games. A great article from The Telegraph seems to refute these theories,  but conspiracy theorists will not be fazed by such statistics.

    The next time Webb is in charge of a Manchester United game this season, especially one with extreme importance, we'll see who's right.

The Selections for World Cup 2018 and 2022 Were Influenced by Oil and Money

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    The theory here, especially with the selection of Qatar, is that FIFA opted for money rather than a great footballing experience when they chose these countries for the next two World Cups.

    To be fair, Russia seems a legitimate option especially when you consider the changes going on at the club level. Still, this article makes some interesting points on the matter.

    While representatives of the US and England, the beaten finalist in both those bids, might not go as far as to say that oil and money were important, fans and viewers will not be so diplomatic.

Barcelona Benefits Because of Unicef Partnership and UEFA Favouritism

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    Barcelona used to have the UNICEF logo on its kit as a part of a partnership between the football club and the organization. That logo recently changed thanks to another partnership with the Qatar foundation.

    During the time with UNICEF, fans and a certain coach had the belief that Barcelona benefited from this partnership on the field as well as off it.

    Jose Mourinho had his say about that partnership during last year's Champions League, though UNICEF wasn't really bothered by those comments.

    This year, even with a different logo on, Mourinho has been at it again with his belief that UEFA favours the Catalan club, something which Zlatan Ibrahimovic agreed with.

South Korea Got Some Help in Its Run to the 2002 World Cup Semifinal

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    South Korea reached the semifinal of the 2002 World Cup as one of the co-hosts of the competition. They first beat Italy and then Spain in dramatic fashion before losing out to Germany in a close game.

    The Italy game stands out in this conspiracy, as many Italian officials were quick to point out. The team felt that they were on the receiving end of some questionable calls including the expulsion of Francesco Totti.

    Portugal felt they received similar treatment in an important group game as did Spain in the quarterfinal.

Arsenal Pipping Tottenham to 4th Place in 2005/06

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    Tottenham fans will love this one; well, not really, but Arsenal fans will.

    With one game left in the season, all Tottenham needed to do was to equal Arsenal's result on the day, whether it be a loss, a win, or a tie, and they would have finished the season in the Champions League spot they were holding.

    The night before their final game against West Ham a few key players fell ill from a meal at the team's hotel. Conspiracy theorists at the time made up stories about the chef being an Arsenal fan and other such things. The hotel was eventually cleared, but the source of the bug remains a mystery.

    Tottenham eventually lost to West Ham, and Arsenal gained that spot in the Champions league.

Bobby Moore Arrested in Colombia

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    England was set to defend its World Cup trophy in 1970, but preparations hit a little snag when Bobby Moore got into some legal troubles in Colombia.

    Moore was alleged to have stolen some jewelry from a local shop in Bogota. He was questioned by police, and at one point he was on house arrest for a few days.

    The English defender was eventually cleared of wrongdoing and able to catch up with his teammates for the tournament.

    It is generally believed that this "arrest", which was a setup, was an attempt to derail England's chances for the tournament.