Irish dancers Aug 5, 2022; Dublin, Ohio, USA; Dancers from Millenmium Academy ofi Irish Dance and Music perform during the 35th annual Dublin Irish Festival. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch Dublin Irish Festival

It seems like cheating scandals are hitting just about every sport and competition there is, from the mainstream ones to the niche interests. Just in the last few weeks, we’ve got a chess scandal, a fishing scandal, a poker scandal, and now we’ve got an Irish dancing scandal.

Via The Guardian, the Irish Dancing Commission has appointed a former judge to investigate various claims that some of the most prominent dance schools and teachers have fixed competitions in order to allow certain dancers to win.

The allegations center around at least 12 teachers in multiple countries who “conspired to ensure certain dancers scored highly in international tournaments, known as feiseanna.” Dance teachers often hold a lot of power in these competitions and have the ability to influence how they operate.

The Irish Independent broke the story, saying that, in one case, a teacher and judge were exchanging sexual favors for better scores. Others referred to the Irish dance industry as akin to a “mafia,” with one teacher saying that she was afraid to ask a judge for a favor “because once you do, you’re indebted to them for life. It’s like The Godfather.

While the dance world awaits the findings of the commission’s investigation, the show goes on. The All Scotland Championships began on Thursday and run through Sunday.

“All eyes will certainly be on the judges and results,” said Irish Dancing magazine. “If these allegations are proven true, many are hopeful it will bring in new judging procedures and processes to prevent any real or perceived misconduct in the future.”

[The Irish Independent, The Guardian]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to