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Lords of Soccer

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Soccer is the most popular sport in the world. It boasts some 250 million players in 200 nations. It's the sport of the people. At the top of the professional pyramid is FIFA - a somewhat mysterious group of elite businessmen who promote the sport and organize the biggest international contest on earth, the World Cup. The contest generates billions in revenue and attracts billions of fans.

But behind the spectacle lurks an ugly truth.
13 Episodes
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Qatar 2022

Qatar 2022

2022-09-0152:462

How did this small, Middle Eastern autocracy, with no international soccer pedigree or modern stadium infrastructure, land the ultimate international sporting competition: the 2022 FIFA World Cup? Money. Lots of money.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Equal Footing

Equal Footing

2022-08-2501:03:49

Today’s episode is all about hope. The stunning success of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team offered FIFA a roadmap to a better way of doing business, one that promised soaring profits while embracing the organization’s core mission: to spread soccer and fair play around the globe. Instead, FIFA relegated the women’s game to second-class status even after seeing record crowds. In choosing to stick with its old corrupt ways, FIFA lost the one thing it cares about most: money. But women’s soccer still offers the last, best hope for a better FIFA.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
White Elephants

White Elephants

2022-08-1845:49

FIFA’s appalling behavior in Chile and Argentina is ancient history…right? You’d think world soccer’s governing body would have learned its lessons and modernized by 2014, but you’d be wrong. In the soccer-mad nation of Brazil, FIFA was faced with a choice between profits and people, and FIFA did what it always does - it put profits first. Screw the consequences.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
After spending millions of dollars they didn’t have to build World Cup infrastructure, and disappearing anyone opposed to their lavish plans, Argentina’s military junta turns its eyes on an even bigger prize – a World Cup victory on its home soil in 1978.   How far would General Videla and his henchmen go to win? And would FIFA ignore their blatant efforts to rig the World Cup?See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
In 1978, FIFA faced a simple choice: Play the World Cup in a nation ruled by a brutal military dictatorship, or move the tournament to a country that better represented the global values of fair play at the heart of FIFA’s mission. FIFA chose to chase dollars rather than stand up for human rights. This is Argentina ‘78, the World Cup of Shame, Part 1.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
See No Evil

See No Evil

2022-07-2833:43

In this episode, you’ll hear how the Lords of Soccer abused their positions to prop up and promote a violent dictatorship in Chile, all in the name of profit.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The Era of Gold

The Era of Gold

2022-07-2145:531

The slow march toward corruption continues… When Brazilian businessman João Havelange took control of FIFA in 1974 it was still a modest operation, with six permanent staff and virtually nothing in the bank. By the time he retired in 1998, the soccer organization had $4 billion in the bank. But the man who built FIFA into a multi-billion dollar marketing machine would also be implicated in a string of scandals involving millions in bribes and kickbacks. Worse, Havelange had a nasty habit of cozying up to gangsters and dictators, and choosing profit over human rights.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The Colonialist

The Colonialist

2022-07-1441:20

An organization like FIFA does not become corrupt overnight. So how did it happen? Well, long before FIFA became stuff of criminal lore, soccer’s governing body was simply known to be racist and morally corrupt. From supporting South Africa’s racist apartheid regime to propping up authoritarian dictators, FIFA’s so-called Golden Years were more blood red than gold. At the top of the pyramid for much of this, an Englishman named Stanley Rous.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The Fall of Sepp

The Fall of Sepp

2022-07-0753:503

The most powerful man in world sports. The king of international soccer. FIFA President Sepp Blatter commanded the attention of global superstars and political leaders alike during his 17-year reign. He had also survived every scandal that came his way - and there were a lot of them. He seemed to be made of teflon and then, in a blink of an eye, his luck ran out.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The Indictments

The Indictments

2022-06-3043:593

In December 2010, FIFA President Sepp Blatter, surrounded by celebrities and politicians from around the globe, announced that Russia and Qatar would host the next two World Cup tournaments. The news shook the world. The choice of two authoritarian regimes, with troubling human rights records and little if any soccer infrastructure, set off alarm bells. How could this happen? Among those asking the question, federal agents in the United States who decided to take a closer look at soccer’s governing body.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The Raid

The Raid

2022-06-2339:013

The five-star Baur-Au-Lac Hotel in Zurich, Switzerland caters to the world’s elite. Among its regular patrons, members of FIFA, which has its headquarters nearby. In May of 2015, just as the sun rose over bucolic Lake Zurich, authorities raided the hotel. The corrupt empire the Lords of Soccer had built was crashing down around them. Many FIFA’s biggest names would find themselves in handcuffs, led out by Swiss police as part of a raid that took down more than a dozen soccer officials, indicted on a range of charges, from money laundering to racketeering.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The Inside Man

The Inside Man

2022-06-1639:014

Chuck Blazer was one of the most powerful men in international soccer - or football, as most of the world knows it. As a member of FIFA’s executive committee, he was among an elite few who managed the World Cup, the globe’s ultimate sporting competition. To his fellow Lords of Soccer, Blazer was loyal; and like many of them, he was utterly corrupt. In November 2011, two federal agents stopped the eccentric sports executive outside his Trump Tower apartment. They offered him a deal - spill the tea on FIFA’s secret world of bribes and money laundering or go to prison for tax fraud. Blazer took the deal, setting in motion the largest international corruption investigation in history.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Comments (4)

Christmas Fantasy

Play the World Cup in a nation ruled by a brutal military dictatorship, or move the tournament to a country that better represented the global values of fair play at the heart of FIFA’s https://9apps.ooo/download/ mission..

Dec 19th
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Christmas Fantasy

Play the World Cup in a nation ruled by a brutal military https://vidmate.bet/ dictatorship, or move the tournament to a country that better represented the global values of fair play at the heart of FIFA’s mission.

Dec 18th
Reply

Christmas Fantasy

Paul Breitner as the major player who boycotted the https://testmyspeed.onl/ tournament. did Johan Cryuff not boycott?

Dec 18th
Reply

Howard stein

you mentioned Paul Breitner as the major player who boycotted the tournament. did Johan Cryuff not boycott? I'm sure he did and he was the number 1 player in the world at the time.

Aug 11th
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