Fri Oct 21 22:16:58 CAT 2016

Blowing up Fifa's beautiful game

By unknown | Feb 24, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Word has it that if there is anyone that Federation of International Football Association president Joseph Sepp Blatter hates with a passion in this world - it's the writer Andrew Jennings.

And after reading this book one may just understand why.

The back cover says it's the book that Fifa tried to ban.

It is also hard not to understand why.

Foul! unearths the stories that Fifa did not want told. Its mixture of world-class probing journalism, compelling story-telling and dark humour make this the most important book ever written about the men who control "the people's game".

Edison Arantes do Nascimento aka Pele famously described football as the beautiful game.

But on reading Foul! one wonders what is beautiful about this shady world of Mafia-style behaviour by the game's bigwigs.

Many people have wondered and questioned the shenanigans and other goings on within football's structures.

This book bares it all.

It also makes one think about the rest of the "body" when the "head" is as rotten, as Jennings points out.

You begin to wonder about all the associations and confederations affiliated to Fifa.

And, Jennings points out, it's all about money.

The ones with money, like sportswear company Adidas, through the Dassler family, are the king makers.

"Horst Dassler was the invisible man, blending into the background. Very wealthy but not ostentatious, it was a case of seeing the guy but not knowing what he was doing. We didn't realise then how involved he was."

Dassler's day job was running his family's business. He went out to get sports federations to sign contracts that committed their teams to his Adidas sports wear.

He wanted sports stars to wear the "three stripes". And he wanted the world to watch on TV and follow their example. To get the contracts, he had to have the sports leaders indebted to him. What better way than to put them in power of world football.

He surveyed the likely candidates, did his private deals, and helped them to victory with Adidas' money. He made them presidents and reminded them - charmingly of course - that he could keep them in power, or push them out. All they had to do was play the game, which meant looking out for Adidas.

Let's not spoil a good read by letting everything out. This is one book every football lover should lay their hands on.

It will change your outlook - if not make you lose interest in the game forever. It is a world of crooks, dog eats dog and no forgiveness for crossing one's path.

Riveting reading indeed! The book can't be put down until the last page.


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