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The Fall of the House of FIFA By David Conn

Release date: 07th July, 2017
Publisher: Yellow Jersey Press

List Price: £16.99
Our Price: £13.99
You Save: £3 (17%)
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David Conn’s long list of literary successes are legion, but following publication of his latest book, The Fall of the House of FIFA, it’s arguable that he may have surpassed everything that has gone before, even his highly acclaimed work, The Beautiful Game?

Like The Beautiful Game?, which shone a bright spotlight on domestic football’s darkest corners, revealing a distasteful capacity to attract kleptomaniacal club chairmen and administrators for whom greed and incompetence were a way of life, The Fall of the House of FIFA does an equally impressive job on a global level.

Significantly, perhaps, both books trace football’s fall from grace back to the 1970s, a decade during which those running the game began ignoring its traditional roots and started taking much greater notice of its ability to make serious money.

Conn believes FIFA’s fall can be traced back to 1974 when Joao Havelange was elected to the post of president, an early sign of rampant anti-British sentiment in the sporting sphere that would become increasingly prevalent over the subsequent four decades.

Sir Stanley Rous, the man Havelange defeated, clearly realised the organisation had been overrun by a large cohort of corrupt, self-serving officials, many of whom had bribed their way to positions of influence, when he wrote, “There was in my defeat something symbolic of changing attitudes and standards.” This, sadly, was a statement of staggering prescience.

FIFA’s excesses have been well documented over the last few years, but Conn’s investigative prowess details further examples of embezzlement and corruption on an industrial scale.

Perhaps recognising that if they were to ever regain any influence on the world stage, in 2010, the FA decided to bid for the 2018 World Cup and conform to FIFA’s new ways of doing things, an expensive and embarrassing mistake. The FA were way out of their league; they had been out of the game far too long and, like sharks at a poker table, the FIFA’s pack of moneyed mobsters took everything the FA could give them and laughed. Another victory for the kleptomaniacs.

Tales of FIFA’s inherent corruption are nothing new, but given its definitive nature, David Conn’s account deserves the widest possible audience. Buy it.


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