Biggest Fines and Penalties in Football History

Biggest Fines and Penalties in Football History

Over the years, football has captivated millions of fans around the world with endless moments of drama, skill and passion. However, beyond the thrilling goals and spectacular performances, it’s quite often the moments of controversy and misconduct that bring the most attention to the game.

From financial irregularities and doping scandals to match-fixing and unsporting behaviour, the history of football is dotted with instances where clubs, players, and officials have faced the wrath of governing bodies. In this blog, we delve into some of the most significant fines and penalties in football history, uncovering the stories behind these headline-grabbing punishments and exploring their impact on the sport. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a casual observer, join us as we delve into the darker side of football and discover how these monumental fines and penalties have shaped the game we love.

Eric Cantona

Kicking things off with one of the Premier League’s most notorious cases of misconduct, in 1995, Manchester United’s Eric Cantona was handed an eight-month ban and £30,000 fine for ‘kung-fu kicking’ a Crystal Palace fan during a 1-1 draw with the London-based club.

Despite receiving this lengthy ban, Cantona looks back at this moment fondly. In 2011, the Frenchman was asked about his favourite career moments, to which he replied “My best moment? I have a lot of good moments but the one I prefer is when I kicked the hooligan”. It was reported that the Crystal Palace fan provoked Cantona by making racist remarks about him and his Mother, to which Cantona attempted to ‘re-educate’ the fan with a flying kick.

Eric Cantona Kick
Eric Cantona Kicks Crystal Palace Fan

Luis Suarez

Luis Suarez is no stranger to a hefty fine or penalty. The first in the Premier League came in 2011, when the Uruguayan was banned for eight games and fined £40,000 by the FA, after an independent regulatory commission found the Liverpool player guilty of racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra. Liverpool decided not to appeal the decision, but this isn’t where the saga ended. Later that season, the pair would meet again at Old Trafford where Suarez refused to shake Evra’s hand before the game. Rio Ferdinand said, “After seeing what happened, I decided not to shake his hand, I lost all respect for the guy.”. However, Evra had the last laugh as United won the game 2-1 and the Frenchman went on to celebrate in front of a defeated Luis Suarez. 

Next up, we’ve got a series of bites. That’s right, Suarez has been punished not just once, but three times, for deciding to have a nibble on opponents. The first of which came in 2010 when Suarez was playing for Ajax in Holland. During a game against close rivals PSV, the Uruguayan bit the shoulder of Otman Bakkal, leaving him with a seven-game ban. However, the biting didn’t stop there, Suarez was hungry for more. During the 2012/13 Premier League campaign, Liverpool’s striker took it upon himself to bite Chelsea’s Branislov Ivanovic on the arm. This time, Suarez was left with a ten-game ban which was carried over into the following season. The striker rounded off his hat trick of bites during the 2014 World Cup on Italian defender, Chiellini. Dispute not being punished during the game, FIFA gave him a four-month ban from all football and handed him a nine-match international ban.

Luis Suarez Bite
Luis Suarez Bites Giorgio Chiellini

Ivan Toney

Most recently, Brentford and England’s Ivan Toney got handed an eight-month suspension for breaching football betting rules, after the striker allegedly tallied 262 gambling offences. Despite online betting being completely legal in the UK, and you can easily find a casino with free money on the site, Premier League players are prohibited from doing so. After scoring 32 goals in 64 Premier League games since joining Brentford in 2020, the eight-month ban marked a major setback in the player’s career. However, it took the 27-year-old just 19 minutes to find the net with a low free-kick past Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Matt Turner, in his first game back. It’s now rumoured that the England striker will make the move to a bigger club this summer, with a few top clubs showing interest.

Ivan Toney Penalty
Ivan Toney Returns For Brentford

Mario Balotelli 

Mario Balotelli is one of the few players who is often remembered for his activities off the pitch rather than what he could do with the ball at his feet! In 2012, the infamous Italian received a huge £340,000 fine from his club Manchester City, following repeated breaches of their code of conduct. The fine was primarily due to his poor disciplinary record, which included being seen partying before crucial matches and missing numerous training sessions. These actions not only affected his performance on the field but also violated the standards expected by the club. Balotelli initially appealed the fine to the Premier League Tribunal but later withdrew his appeal, likely to avoid negative media attention that could further jeopardise his position in the team.

Mario Balotelli Why Always Me
Mario Balotelli Why Always Me Celebration

Now, you may be thinking that it’s only players have to face fines and penalties, but in reality, many clubs and teams have also paid these fines. There are authorities and regulatory bodies in place at different levels that ensure fairness in the game. Even organisations like FIFA have faced these issues and fines. Let’s take a look at some other major incidents with different teams and organisations where they were served with heavy fines.

Queens Park Rangers

In 2018, Queens Park Rangers received a £42 million fine, and a transfer ban, after they broke financial fair play rules. The case actually dates back to the 2013-14 season when the London-based club secured promotion to the Premier League through the Championship playoffs.

Paris Saint-Germain

In 2022, UEFA announced that PSG, along with 7 other European giants, would be fined £56 million for breaking financial fair play rules.

The clubs that have agreed to a three-year settlement must comply with the new UEFA sustainability rules by the end of the 2025-26 season. If they fail to do so, they may be liable for the full fines imposed by UEFA. Non-compliance could also lead to bans from UEFA competitions in the 2024-25 and 2025-26 seasons, as well as a ban on registering new players in the 2026-27 season.

West Ham United

Finally, in 2007, West Ham United received a £5.6 million fine for violating transfer regulations. At that time, this was the largest fine ever imposed, resulting from the London club’s transfers of Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano.


The idea behind these punishments is not to generate revenue but to create discipline in the sport and enforce the rule of law, even on the sports field. There is complete infrastructure in place in the football world, and all teams, players, and clubs are legally bound to follow these rules and regulations. Who do you think will be next to face a fine?