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Genre: Sport, non-fiction, corruption

Stars: 4

Links: Amazon UK and Amazon US


The Blurb

When FIFA awarded the tiny desert state of Qatar the rights to host the 2022 World Cup, the news was greeted with disbelief and allegations of corruption. How had a country with almost no football infrastructure or tradition, a high terror risk and searing summer temperatures of 50C beaten more established countries with stronger bids? The story behind the Qatari success soon developed into one of the greatest sporting scandals of our time.

And when the Sunday TimesInsight team received a cache of hundreds of millions of documents from a whistleblower, the contents of the FIFA Files became a global sensation, unearthing the corruption that lay at the heart of the bidding process.

Now in this remarkable new book by the Sunday Timesjournalists at the centre of the investigation, Heidi Blake and Jonathan Calvert, comes the most comprehensive account yet of what happened and who was involved. Above all, it explains why, despite all the evidence, FIFA under Sepp Blatter continues to support Qatar – even to the extent of publishing an edited and abbreviated report into the process that was immediately denounced by its original author. Longlisted for the William Hill prize, The Ugly Gameis undoubtedly the biggest sporting story of the year.


My Review:

Brilliant investigative journalism bringing to life fascinating insights into the world of football’s governing body.

Packed with facts, emails, bank transfer evidence, interview excerpts, and conversations between key players in the run-up to the vote for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups, this book shines a light into the dark recesses of an organisation that ‘looks after’ one of the most popular sports on the planet.

Tracing the corrupt actions of one individual in his quest to secure the World Cup for his country, Qatar, the authors have written a page-turner of a book. The occasional drift into narrative non-fiction distracts from what is otherwise an explosive and fact-packed read, but the work, evidence, and quality of (the rest of) the writing speaks for itself. Recommended.