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on 29 July 2008
If you love football and have an interest in the running of the game then you must read this book. It will truly open your eyes to a vast array of underhanded dealings going on at the very highest level with the very people who control the peoples sport.
After reading this book you realise that those people at the top have got there not through being the best people for the job and the people who care most about the sport. On the contrary these organisations such as FIFA and UEFA display the highest form of nepotism possible. People are kept in power through a friends and old boys union of power which is almost inbreakable. While the grass roots of the beautiful game struggle for funds the FIFA heads drive around in chauffer driven cars and charge their every move to the FIFA account funded by....yes you the grassroots football player.
Its heartbreaking discovering the level of curruption that exists in these organisations and I'd recommend as many people as possible read this book so more publicity is brought to this fact and something can be done about it.
Since this book was published one of the biggest and worst characters unveiled in this book who is demonstrated in these pages to be breaking several FIFA rules in his every action has simply been promoted and now stands as FIFA Vice president. Something needs to be done.
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on 31 August 2010
The most recent work of investigative journalist Andrew Jennings sees him return to his role of detailing the misdemeanours, and attempting to tackle the culprits, of some of Sport's most corrupt and self-serving activities at the highest level of authority. In a similar vein to his previous 'The Great Olympic Swindle', Jennings attempts with gusto to give the reader the background of FIFA, from its earliest days as a largely practical authority for organizing international football, to its current status as an overblown corporation filled with major figures working against each other, copious bribes being doled out to authorities within the game, and an incredible nepotism in positions being given within FIFA - all topics in which Jennings informs the reader with a strong backlogue of facts and statistics. Indeed, it's hard to imagine a more detailed dossier on the underhanded activities within an institution which has gone the same way as Jennings' previous subject, the IOC (International Olympic Committee).

The factual basis of the work is highly impressive and hard to fault, with Jennings clearly having dug deep within the company for many of the facts. The style of the book, however, is more open to criticism, though it will appeal to some. Jenning's narrative flow is reminiscent of a popular crime thriller, with blockbuster openings, and an abundance of descriptions of flash operators, stylish locations and cosy Swiss offices; along with the repeated image of the time bomb ticking over a suspicious payment received at FIFA. The style makes the book easy reading, but tends to create a little too much glossiness and unnecessary bulk for a tale which is hugely entertaining and often shocking, on its own merits. Equally, though there is no doubt of the corruption within FIFA, Jennings' character assassination of Blatter, which looks suspiciously at even his more acceptable decisions, and paints his battle for FIFA presidency against the admittedly likeable Lennart Johannson as a battle of Good vs. Evil, simplifies the hugely complex issues of both FIFA, and of Blatter himself. For any fan of football, or for those interested in business corruption in general, this is a superb read, but one that, a little simplified in its outlook, and a little over-stylised in its technique, is not without its few flaws.
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on 21 May 2009
An incredible book that keep you gripped from the first page to the last word. I finished this in a little over 24 hours including being at work for 10 hours in the middle of it.

Jennings portrays a corporation that is corrupt from the top to the bottom and throughout the world. Even if 50% of it is wrong (which I don't believe it is) then fans around the world paying ludicrously high prices for tickets should continue to boo Blatter and all his cronies every time they make an appearance.

Footballers should boycott the World player of the year awards to show their disapproval (but we know they won't because they themselves love the money to much).

Given FIFA's denial that any wrong doing has ever happened I don't know where Jennings will go next. However if he needs any support then any true football supporter should read this book and then do everything they can to support him in his efforts.
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on 28 November 2011
Although i had taken an interest into the egotistical Sepp Blatter over many years, i was not aware of the depth of dishonesty, Andrew illustrates throughout the book.
Moreover, the book provides a real insight into how tyrannical Blatter can be, but suprisingly how others can also give in to temptation when a little power and a pile of dollars is within grasp.
Several names dragged through the dirt are the ususal types of Texeira, Warner and the usual shady motley crew, but there are others i didnt expect, that are as corrupt as Blatter if that is possible.....Joao Havelange for one is / was as shady as they come.
Andrews book is one of those that has you shaking your head at the injustice of it all, and leaves you yearning for some form of retribution, but alas he is as the book total control of his own destiny, and who are we to question such a hard working, committed, dedicated, loyal will be left wanting to throw away the key.
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on 5 February 2008
This book is about the entry of big money into football. The rest is not unusual: When capitalism enters a field it brings with itself large amounts of unaccounted for money, double dealing, political judgements, doping, vote rigging etc. The world football governing body is as corrupted as any other institution playing with money. Money laundring, political gain, sponsorship all follow in. The great game which the workers started now is reachable to them only on pay-to-watch TV stations. The important names to be found in the book are Dassler family, Sepp Blatter, Samaranch, coup leaders of Argentina, Coca Cola etc. Thumbs up for Andrew Jennings who unveiled the infamous circle.
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on 17 October 2010
This book is a brilliant read from start to finish.

For the very astute football lover If you haven't already a tainted view of how the beautiful game has progressed during the last ten years, i.e., overpriced tickets, bombarded with 24 hour sports channels repeating the same thing every 20 minutes, ludicrous player wages, parts of stadia empty just after half time as the corporates still guzzle wine and canapés whilst the real fan sips from a polystyrene cup, etc. This will.

Big big corporate names muscling in on football. Back-handers to officials, Blatter visiting places the U.N. forces wouldn't go for votes. Women pretending to be men casting votes, big names of football's past sliding in on the gravy train.
Alas like any global corporation, in any business F.I.F.A are no different.
When Blatter's gone, no doubt he will be replaced with another 'saviour' who he's handpicked, and will still collect his F.I.F.A. pension, his expense account, and complimentary tickets to matches the ordinary fan has to pay through the nose for.

Read this book, and weep
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on 3 February 2011
Going by the recent spate of reviews I think alot of people, like me, got this book in response to Englands failed bid for 2018 and its a pity that the book only goes up to 2005, as I would really have loved to have read Jennings take on the competition to hold 2018 and 2022. There has got to be an expose of that episode, but read this book and you ll understand how Quatar was awarded 2022.

I found it a little tricky to get into, but get over the first few short chapters and it becomes very readable. Overall though there is nothing shocking in it.Things are pretty much as you 'd expect in the world of international soccer too.
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on 29 November 2009
I always knew FIFA were corrupt but when you read this book it's shocking some of the blatantly fraudulent antics they get away with. It really opens your eyes to some of the astounding audacity Blatter & co. get away with, written not in a boring documentary style, but as an intriguing novel. It does come across a little one sided & biased, but it's not like there's anything you could say to support these crooks.

Every football fan should absolutely read this book, if only to understand how corrupt the games' ruling body is
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on 6 March 2012
I still can't believe that any organization can be as sick as FIFA is shown to be in this revealing novel. Anyone reading this book will be shocked at how our beloved game of football is used for the financial enrichment of its top officials. Once you've started, you can't put this book down. I can't wait for a follow-up edition.
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on 27 July 2007
If this book is true, then the world's favourite game has been a farce since FIFA got advert-wise in the 80s. Blatter is bent, so was the guy before him- lots of scandal, money where it shouldn't be, and a dodgy carribbean football chief make for an interesting and fast read
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