Every once in a while, a sport experiences a scandal so egregious that some think it may never recover again. Here are the worst of the worst
There's nothing more devastating for sports fans than a scandal ripping through the foundation of their favorite game. While such controversial events are rare, when they do occur, they leave behind a trail of mayhem, destruction, deceit, and mistrust.

Here are some of biggest scandals in sports.
Baseball's Black Sox Scandal

In 1919, one of the earliest-known sports scandals came to light, when the highly-favoured Chicago White Sox lost in the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. Eight members of the White Sox were bribed by Arnold Rothstein--a gangster--to throw the series. This scandal destroyed the careers of all the players involved, including Shoeless Joe Jackson, who was one of the most prolific batters of his time.

Although money was one of the reasons why the players sold out, it is said that their dislike for the club's owners also influenced their decision to go ahead with the fix!
Soccer's Serie A Match-Fixing Scandal

In 2006, reports about officiating irregularities in Italy's top flight surfaced. Further investigations and interviews with referees revealed the depth and scope of fixing that was prevalent in Italian soccer. As a result of this scandal, some big clubs like AC Milan, Lazio, Fiorentina and Regina were heavily penalized--both on and off the pitch.

However, the biggest loser was soccer giant Juventus--the most successful Italian team--which was relegated to the second tier. Thanks to this decision, several players from Italy's 2006 World Cup-winning squad, including the legendary Gianluigi Buffon, played the 2006 season in Serie B!
Track And Field's Ben Johnson Steroids Scandal

This Jamaican-born Canadian sprinter dominated the track and field world back in the 1980s. Just three days after breaking his 100m world record by clocking 9.79 seconds at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Johnson was stripped of his gold medal! His crime? He was a steroid user and regularly juiced up before meets, including the Seoul games.

He even confessed to previous instances of steriod use and was suspended for a couple of years. He tried making a comeback, but failed repeatedly--both on the track and in a couple of drug tests!
Cycling's 2007 Tour de France Doping Scandal

Hardly a year after 2006 winner Floyd Landis was found guilty of using banned substances, another scandal erupted at the Tour. The 2007 race was plagued with controversy as three prominent riders failed routine tests. Two teams even pulled out of the race, and sponsors threatened to follow suit.

This was a wake up call for the entire cycling community and organizers about the far-reaching effects of doping in the sport.
Figure Skating's Tonya Harding Scandal

In 1994, American figure skater Tonya Harding (front) hired a hitman to injure her main rival Nancy Kerrigan (back) just prior to the US figure skating championship. The attack left Kerrigan with a few bruises above the knee and Harding won the event and qualified for the 1994 Winter Olympics. However, she soon cracked and fessed up to the authorities. She was immediately suspended.

Till date, she claims she didn't hire the hitman, and that her only crime was covering up knowledge of the attack!
Formula One's 2007 Espionage Scandal

In 2007, Ferrari officials accussed one of their own engineers, Nigel Stepney, of passing along an important dossier to some of their rival teams, including McLaren. The information included was extremely confidential and was meant for Ferrari's inner circles only. Although Stepney denied the allegations, a senior McLaren engineer Mike Coughlan was found in possession of the said dossier.

This event helped fuel the mistrust that typifies inter-team relations in this competitive sport. An Italian court handed Stepney a brief prison term and a minor fine. However, his greatest loss is that he's blackballed from arguably the greatest team in the business!
Cricket's Match-Fixing Scandal

In the mid 1990s, there were a few reports of cricketers providing seemingly innocuous bits of information to bookies. However, these "minor" infractions blew up into a full-fledged scandal at the turn of the century, when South African skipper Hansie Cronje was found guilty of match-fixing. Cronje soon came clean about his various links with bookies and his monetary offerings to his teammates!

One of South Africa's most loved captains was instantly banned from all forms of cricket as he turned into a symbol of match-fixing. Since Cronje's untimely passing in a cargo plane crash, the cricketing world is still left with a lot of unanswered questions. And his legacy, as we now deal with Pakistanis engaging in spot-fixing!