In 2002, four soccer teams in Madagascar were playing for the national championship. It was a round-robin tournament, which meant each team would play each other team twice, in a series of 12 games over the course of 11 days.

In the second-to-last game, Stade Olympique l'Emyrne (SOE) were playing Domoina Soavina Atsimondrano (DSA), and the score was 2-2. SOE were still hoping to pull ahead, but the referee, Benjamina Razafintsalama, gave them a penalty, and that was it for them. The final game was going to be SOE against AS ADEMA Analamanga (Adema), but the stakes weren't exactly high. With the way the tournament assigned scores for wins and draws, Adema was now guaranteed the championship and SOE was guaranteed second place, no matter how the final game went.

So, while a round-robin may seem like a fair way of running a tournament by setting every single team against every single other, it can wind up pretty anticlimactic compared to your traditional elimination-style brackets. 

Are you imagining now that SOE didn't even try in the final game, letting Adema beat them 149 to 0? Or that Adema decided they didn't need to try, and let SOE score 149 goals and still lose the championship? Neither of those happened. Instead, in the final game on Halloween Night, SOE kicked the ball into their own goal 149 times. This was their protest over what they called the ref's bad decision in the previous game. After that first own-goal, Adema didn't even bother trying to get the ball. They quickly realized what was happening and just stood back and let SOE do their thing. 

Like so many protests, this accomplished nothing (it's unclear what SOE were even hoping would happen). In fact, the league punished them by taking away even their second-place title, barred them from a future tournament, suspended some players for the rest of the season, and suspended the coach for three years. The protest also won them absolutely no new fans. Spectators that day swarmed the ticket office, demanding refunds, because they had come for a game, not whatever this was. 

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For more soccer weirdness, check out: 

Both Teams Try Winning a Soccer Game by Scoring on Their Own Goals

Drugs, Violence, And Soccer: 6 Realities Of Hooliganism

A Man Bluffed His Way Into A 20-Year Soccer Career Without Ever Playing

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Top image: Tistou_Malta/Pixabay

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