Fifa was founded in 1904 to unite the football-playing world, its first congress stating that 'no person should be allowed to arrange matches for personal profit'. A little over a century later, a judge in a Brooklyn courtroom called Fifa a 'Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organisation (RICO) enterprise' - a term originally coined for the mafia. As dazzling World Cups captivated billions around the world Fifa became a commercial magnet, money pouring into its coffers. Its earnest foundations began to crumble as those entrusted with the sport wanted their share. For forty years Joao Havelange and then Sepp Blatter presided over a Fifa now plagued with scandal - dawn raids, FBI investigations, allegations of money laundering, industrial-scale bribery, racketeering, tax evasion, vote-buying and theft that now came to define the organisation whose purpose is to foster international cooperation and nurture the spirit of this simple, beautiful game. David Conn, football's most respected investigative journalist, chronicles the extraordinary history and staggering scale of corruption, paints revealing portraits of the men at the centre of Fifa - the power brokers, the indicted, the legends like Franz Beckenbauer and Michel Platini - and puts the allegations to Blatter himself in an extended interview. The Fall of the House of Fifa is the definitive story of Fifa's rise and the most spectacular fall sport has ever seen.
This book has a cumulative power, piling betrayal on betrayal, until they even include one of Conn's childhood idols from the 1974 World Cup, the German player Franz Beckenbauer -- Andy Beckett * Guardian * We have known for so long that Fifa, world's football's governing body, is rank with institutionalised corruption... But then if we are to hand a rifle to anyone to shoot fish in a barrel, there could be no choice than David Conn, the dogged investigate reporter... The figures he uncovers in this book are breathtaking -- Jim White * Mail on Sunday * Excellent -- David Walsh * Sunday Times * Even in age inured to corruption, the reign of Sepp Blatter over football's global ruling body, Fifa, was jaw-droppingly spectacular... How did he do it? David Conn's patient unravelling of Fifa's tangled web provides the answer, and it makes for ugly but revealing reading... Conn, a sport journalist on the Guardian, negotiates the murky world of big money with confidence and dogged calm in this tale of the beautiful game gone bad -- Nigel Jones * Observer * A very fine piece of reportage, probing to the organisation's dark and festering heart while also taking care to accentuate the good FIFA has done in the world -- Gavin Cooney * BALLS.ie *