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How They Stole the Game
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 21 January 2013
Let me start with the negatives: it is not made clear on the amazon site that this book written was written in 1999, then with a 2011 edition, containing just an Epilogue extra. The 2011 'Epilogue' has typos and punctuation errors - see on p 430 where the important name of Julio 'Grondona' is misspelled as 'Gordona' - an efficient and knowledgeable proofreader (I know of just such a one!) could have rectified this kind of mistake.

That said, I found Yallop's book to be one of the most fascinating books I have ever read - it opened the eyes of this reader further than wide open. The detailing of Joao Havelange's, the ex-FIFA president's, dealings while in office (and out, as a supporter of Blatter) are astonishing and I have no reason to doubt the varacity of the book's findings - it is a very well-researched book. In fact, to quote a trite cliche, it was 'unputdownable'. The beautiful game has indeed been bought but the way Pele for example has tried to rise above the seedy, the sleaze and dubious deals shines through. Others should be ashamed of themselves.

I had long thought a certain soccer match between Argentina and Peru was a rather 'remarkable' and 'convenient' result in the circumstances for the host country and I am now even more convinced. It is all so sad that the romance has gone out of the game and the 'prawn sandwich' brigade/suits have taken over (and not just football).

I will be investing in Yallop's other books.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 21 January 2007
David Yallop is, for me, the world's greatest investigative writer. If anyone thinks otherwise then please let me know as I am looking for new authors. He has written only a handful of books over a 30+ year career and to my knowledge nothing he has ever uncovered has been disproved.

How They Stole The Game is about football and Yallop probes to the very heart of FIFA. More specifically, the FIFA president from 1974-1998, Joao Havelange and how he abuses his power to create his own fiefdom and abuse, control and corrupt his way to the top job, stay there for 24 years and furthermore, ensure this continues after his reign comes to an end.

This is the book that the FIFA president tried to ban and having read it I can understand why. If there was a single untruth in the book then I am sure Havelange would have taken matters further legally although to my knowledge, 8 years after publication, nothing has happened. Is this because the accusations are true?

A very well researched, detailed book that is fascinating and the story infuriating because, as ever, it is the fans who are the ultimate losers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 8 April 2013
Brilliant book. It is worth reading this book for the entertainment alone,
additionally I would advise anyone to read it who might ever consider
placing a bet on a football match.
From on-field antics to decisions made at the very top, the corruption
is sinister and deeply embedded. The same people who were running
it then are still running it now.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 11 December 2009
It probably says more about me and the times we live in than about the book but I didn't think the book was half as scandalous as I had expected it to be. It was with a sense of, 'Yeah but I figured this was going on already' that I read this. Perhaps it is also because I started reading this book a little bit too late and it's now perhaps slightly out of date. Having said that, if you replaced the name Havelange with the name Blatter and changed the dates, my guess is that the book is as up-to-date as anything.

Other disappointing things for me were Yallop's obsession with Maradonna's handball and other incidents that somehow disadvantaged the English squad and his strange symbolism of Brazilian football with the beautiful game. I agree that the Brazil team with Pelé were nothing short of magical, of what I have seen on videos. However, pre-Pelé and certainly post-Pelé there have also been numerous times that we saw the ugly, boring and cheating sides of Brazilian football. To say that Havelange stole the game and that game was or is epitomized by Brazilian football is a over the top.

For me this is an issue because he writes at length about the state of Brazilian football and how Havelange's son-in-law has corrupted it. I am sure this is the case but I am sure this is the case elsewhere too and for such a great investigator to ignore this was disappointing.

On the upside, this is a tremendous body of work in terms of Yallop's research. It is written very clearly and believably and it basically a good read. What is also prevalent is Yallop's passion for football. He shares the normal person's love for the beautiful game and is obviously aggravated by its decline. I, too, have sat in virtually quiet stadiums without any atmosphere and as an Arsenal fan, there was quite a lot of sad truth in the last line of the epilogue but I'll let you read that for yourself.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 13 July 2000
Anyone with an interest in the world game should read this book. Recent events with the farce over the 2006 World Cup vote should read this and you won't be suprised by the dodgy dealing, back scratching and back stabbing that goes on to ensure that someone gets a big fat slice of the pie that a FIFA tournament brings to a country.
Yallop's investigations into FIFA make you wonder about the power and corruption going on in full view of everyone with an interest in football.
The game of the masses ? Don't make me laugh.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 April 2013
The current FIFA president and his villainous predecessor are shown up for what they're worth. How did the football world put up Havelange for so long? And his successor is cut from the same cloth.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 August 2013
David Yallop is an exceptional author. His books ar captivating and impossible to put down. Sepp Blatter shown in all his splendour.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 April 2013
Greed and corruption abound in the bent world of FIFA in this well researched piece - a good if depressing read.
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on 1 August 2014
This book will confirm your worst fears about FIFA and certain individuals. ...and then still shock you at the depth of their corruption and self aggrandisement.
You will never look at anything involving FIFA in the same light again.
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on 2 July 2015
Good and would like to see the 2016 edition. Sometimes jumps around in time and people. Overall a sobering reminder of the need for action.
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