El Presidente series review – Amazon original enters the strange world of corruption in football "Football means everything" means more money.



El Presidente removes the emotions of football to highlight a scandal that puts a dark mark on the world’s most popular sport in an entertaining and factual way.

This review of Amazon original series El Presidente contains no spoilers. The drama will be released on the platform on June 5, 2020.

Access all episode recaps.

It’s strange how irrational we become when it comes to football. It means more than it should — it really is just players on a pitch kicking a ball into the back of a net. And due to the unparalleled attention, it creates a gigantic revenue source that’s so effective, a slight change to the economic system can have positive or negative ramifications locally, nationally, and internationally. In essence, El Presidente fictionalizes the true story of the FIFA corruption case in 2015, which did not shock the world because it was flagrantly obvious that those sweaty men at the top were shifting money that allowed odd choices like Qatar, a country without a significant football history of infrastructure, to hold a World Cup tournament.

Amazon’s El Presidente focuses solely on CONMEBOL (South American Football Associations) as that’s where the FBI leveraged their investigation. It follows Sergio Jadue who rose from a president of a small-time Chilean football club to President of Football Federation of Chile and a member of the CONMBEBOL executive committee.

The narrative drive is that Sergio was not the brightest tool in the box and that he was under the thumb of an FBI agent’s orders while struggling to contain his ambitious, money-hungry wife. Julio Grondona, who died in 2014 and served as Senior-Vice-President of FIFA, narrates the series, telling the audience how the corruption worked and what to expect. El Presidente benefits from this narration from the perspective of a man who was part of the corruption cogs — it adds a The Wolf of Wall Street vibe to it.

El Presidente follows that similar theme that layers the likes of Narcos, with plenty of key figures to draw your attention to, with a grainy story and a blatant disregard for the law. The Amazon series is highly detailed, determined to pave the story to the audience, toying with how it is fictional but close to the truth at the same time — breaking down the money laundering and the voting process.

And if I was to be frank, my main takeaway from El Presidente is that the entire process was… simple. If you summarised how the members of CONMNEBOL worked, they sat in a room in a hotel, argued like children, unable to represent their old age, sipped a bit of whiskey, raised their hands to vote on another corrupt deal, and then traded cash. El Presidente makes the officials look like children in a playground, asking each other if they can be friends in order to be the next in line for a prestigious position. If anything, the Amazon series opens our eyes to how ridiculously easy it is to make these financial manipulations within not-for-profit environments.

El Presidente is as entertaining as it is educational. It’s a joy to watch Sergio clumsily navigate the football world and rise to the top and implement decision making. The series brings this theme that these men were so engrossed in having a bigger pot, the football itself felt secondary and numbing.

And that comes to the final point; El Presidente barely goes near the pitch and when it does, it happens ironically to prove a point. Us (the fans) feed those soggy-mouthed sweaty executives at the top and we gladly do so, just because of our association with the sport. It’s pretty tragic really.

El Presidente removes the emotions of football to highlight a scandal that puts a dark mark on the world’s most popular sport in an entertaining and factual way.

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Daniel Hart

Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.

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