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This book will make your blood boil, it is basically about FIFA, the world football governing body and is written in an honest and brutal way that will make you despise Sepp Blatter and more especially Jack Warner, who comes out of this book like a real dodgy character. Whether they really are it is hard to tell as this is the writers researched view, but they really do come out of it badly.
The writer does show these characters in an unsavoury light and their own comments post publication and in general do appear to support the fact that their knowledge of football doesn´t quite match their personal egos.
As somebody with Spanish blood I really found it upsetting that the best league in the world has to cowtow to these people when the system of fan co-operatives seems to suit football so much more.
This paperback book is available in all good shops, I bought it on Charing Cross Road in a really good second hand bookstore for 99p, it wasn´t the book i´d gone into the store to buy but nonetheless a juicy football book is always good in my opinion. It is 400 pages long and was released in 2006.
In essence this book is an expose of the kind of things that go on at the heart of the Football´s governing body, it is political, cut throat and really does get your goat if you truly love football and pay money to watch it and then realise that some of these people have nothing other than incredibly big egos and have used them to get rich without any real love for the sport or the country they represent.
Andrew Jennings is a renowned investigative sports journalist and spent 4 years researching this book, during that time he was accused of intimidation by Jack Warner the Fifa Vice President who seriously comes out of this book as a bully only interested in material gain, whether this is true I have no idea, but the image of Fifa that transmits is heartbreaking for fans around the world.
The book is thorough with researched figures and facts and speaks with ex employees and some still within the organisation, it is diverting to see the money that is ploughed into Fifa and how much of that actually goes back to the grassroots.
The book is honest, well thought through and has a solid perspective, it paints characters in a rounded way, so you do understand the ideals of certain people and really appreciate why they might have ended up as they have, but some of the sponsorship deals and personal benefits obtained allegedly, are incredible and upsetting.
This book will stay with me as a lover of football, it made me realise I want the game to change and help those who need help rather than allowing people at the top to get stronger. It is an inspiring and upsetting book in equal measures and deserves the plaudits it has received in independent journalistic circles, the book is available used for 6.95 on Amazon but is easily found in any good second hand bookstore.
For anyone who enjoys football or investigative journalism this is an essential read and will really get your emotions going.
Tom Bowers book "Broken Dreams" lifts the lid on the seamy side of British Footie and this book is the essential companion piece to that excellent work.
Andrew Jennings is an investigative journalist of some repute. He exposed corruption in the Olympic movement and in this work he exposes the corruption at the heart of FIFA, the world games governing body.
If you have ever wondered why FIFA has never taken action against the FA or the Premier League then the answer is very simple. FIFA is more corrupt than either of these bodies.
Mr Jennings focuses on the Secretary of FIFA , Sepp Blatter, and systematically dismantles the guys reputation. Now footie fans know Blatter as a rentagob idiot who will say anything to get into the papers.
In this book he is exposed as a deeply cynical Godfather figure who has been able to attain and keep a position of power in the game through his use of patronage and a devotion to the dark arts of committee politics.
The game is run by Blatters placemen who deliver their masters wishes.
The money from TV and kit contracts gives Sepp a bottomless slush fund with which to buy the people he needs around the world.
To be connected with FIFA is like finding the golden ticket from Willy Wonka.You fly around the world in first class,eat you eat the finest restaurants and drink the finest champagnes. When you weary of this you can lay down your head in the most prestigious 5 star hotels on the planet.
All of this is delivered courtesy of Uncle Sepp. In regions of the world where Associations can barely put a team on the field the local Mr Big is living it large on a FIFA expense account.
Nowhere is this more obvious than the case of Jack Warner, the sometime President of the Trinidad and Tobago Association and the main man in the CONACAF federation.
Mr Jennings uses Warner as an example of everything that is corrupt about football. Warner can deliver 35 FIFA votes from footballing hot spots like Aruba and Sepp needs to keep him sweet.
So Jack can pretty much do as he pleases in his Carribean kingdom,safe in the knowledge that their will be no comebacks.
For their important world cup qualifier against the USA Warner printed and sold 43000 tickets for a stadium built to hold 28000.The Trini team had to be manhandled into the ground over the heads of the fans due to the congestion.
When the Trinis eventually qualified their supporters the world over were dismayed to find that their entire ticket allocation was to be sold through the office of a local Port of Spain travel agent (Propieter - Mr Warner Junior) and sold subject to the purchase of an expensive package.
This decision was taken by President Warner in the modest association offices that were rented from a local landlord (Mr J Warner) at an agreeable rate of rental.
Famously Mr Jennings travelled to Trinidad to confront Warner and the whole was captured by Panorama cameras filming for the documentary of the book.
Warner is still in position and a major power broker in the game.The Football Association are forced to court him as part of their dismal effort to bring the world cup circus here in 2018.
The author carefully constructs this and other scenarios where grants go missing and grassroots football around the world is robbed by the greedy and cynical.
Does it matter? Well Mr Jennings thinks so and so do I.
After all our money underpins this corrupt gravy train.
A brilliant piece of work that should have seen football cleansed but inevitably hasnt.