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EngOutside90 editors Chris Hearn and Joel Fruci count down their hand-picked biggest stories and incidents of 2016.

Here’s our list, counting down from number 8. Numbers 16-9 can be found in part one.

The 16 biggest footballing incidents, and stories of 2016 - Part 28. Sexual abuse scandal in UK

In a case that burst to the fore late in the year, 98 football clubs from across the United Kingdom were embroiled in a sexual abuse scandal involving minors, rocking the game. Eighty-three people have been listed as suspects, and one former coach has been charged with eight separate offences against a boy under 14. Chelsea have been accused of paying a former player hush money to keep abuse by an ex-scout quiet.

7. A-League broadcast deal

The figure was speculated on, and some early estimates said the deal could reach $100 million per season. It’s considerably less than those lofty expectations, with Fox Sports agreeing to part ways with $346 million over the next six seasons.

6. A-League expansion

In early December, we were hit with the news the A-League would expand once more in 2019. The issue was arguably the competition’s biggest throughout the year, with a number of hopefuls putting forward their case, including Geelong, Tasmania, Canberra, Wollongong and Australian football stalwarts South Melbourne.

5. Sam Allardyce’s sacking

Oh, Samuel. 2016 was supposed to be great. You inspired Sunderland out of the relegation mire, and landed comfortably in England’s top job after Euro 2016 – but it all went down hill.

A 1-0 win over Slovakia was as good as it got for Big Sam, before a report published by the Telegraph landed the 61-year-old in hot water after meeting with undercover reporters posing as representatives of a firm looking to contravene FA rules. Allardyce was sacked days later.

Allardyce is now back in management at club level, charged with maintaining Crystal Palace’s Premier League status.

4. Portugal Euro 2016

Euro 2016 Final at the Stade de France on Sunday July 10, France vs Portugal.

It was all set up. Portugal were seen by many as extremely lucky to be anywhere near the final after finishing third in the group, and having the easiest route to a major final in history.

But France being France post-2000 let it slip. Eder’s extra-time thunderbolt ensured a Cristiano Ronaldo-less Portugal lifted the cup. But it wasn’t even the biggest upset of 2016.

3. Hillsborough inquest

Justice for the 96 was finally delivered after 27 long years. A jury concluded that the behaviour of supporters played no part in causing deaths on that tragic day in 1989; rather, they were unlawfully killed by gross negligence of emergency services, including the police.

The verdict triggered scenes of triumph outside the courtroom and across the city, with Merseysiders uniting for a poignant rendition of Liverpool’s famous anthem.

2. Chapecoense

We have witnessed the tragic events of Munich, Zambia and Turin last century, but in an age of technological advancement and state of the art aviation practices, it is tough to come to terms with what took place in Medellin, Colombia, in November.

Seventy-one people were killed on LaMia airlines flight 2933, which was carrying Brazilian club Chapecoense to its biggest ever match, the Copa Sudamericana final first leg, against Atletico Nacional.

Players, back room staff, directors and members of the press all lost their lives in the accident, triggering an outpouring of grief and support across the globe as a club’s golden days were cut short in the worst way possible. The football world has and continues to rally around Chape as it commences the long road back to normality.

1. The Leicester City miracle

5000/1. The longest odds of any sport event, ever, got up. Things like this simply aren’t supposed to happen in modern football.

At season’s start, Claudio Ranieri merely wanted to stay in the division but 11 wins before Christmas had the Foxes purring.

Inspired by the likes of Jamie Vardy, N’Golo Kante and Riyad Mahrez, Leicester lost once after the turn of the new year – eventually being crowned champions by a margin of no less than 10 points.

Post written by Outside 90
Blog: outside90.com, Twitter: @Outside90

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