Fierce and fantastic investigative series looks deep into the history of FIFA and football, showing how corruption built and took root in one of the world’s biggest sports scandals.
This review of the Netflix Series FIFA Uncovered does not contain spoilers.
Released just 11 days before the 2022 FIFA World Cup, being held in Qatar (the first ever Middle Eastern country to do so), FIFA Uncovered on Netflix is a documentary showcasing power struggles in global politics. Across four episodes in an exploration of FIFA, this series reveals the organization’s history and what it takes to host a World Cup, and more importantly, how did Qatar win?
Qatar’s successful bid to host the World Cup has proven to be one of the most controversial moments in the history of the sport, following accusations of bribery and corruption from football’s governing body, FIFA.
Countries all over the world fall over themselves to be the host of the World Cup — it’s about image, it’s about money, it’s about notoriety, but is this done in a fair way? This documentary series traces the organization’s legacy exploring the pageantry, power struggles, and politics of hosting the World Cup. You don’t have to be a football or sports fan to delve into the drama and gossip behind this momentous event.
This documentary series sees interviews with a host of people involved, from CNN sports anchors, prosecutors, FIFA employees, soccer executives, Qatar representatives, former footballers, and Mr. Sepp Blatter himself. The interviews are set up with a plain background and each person facing forward, creating a very serious, intense atmosphere. It’s important to hear everyone’s opinions and experiences within this organization, and some even admit to the corruption and mass money being exchanged. It’s crazy. There are alleged trades that may have influenced the decision for Qatar to win — deals between Qatar and Russia, France and Thailand, with £1.5 million being given to each ExCo member. All of which Qatar representatives deny to this day.
Each one-hour episode is jam-packed with information and opinions. Qatar clearly wants to be seen as some good in the world and wants to show itself as away from the Middle East, will this happen? Qatar, who don’t have a history of football, or a tradition of playing, hosting the biggest football tournament in the world doesn’t sit well with fans and the backlash has been huge. With their laws, rules, and regulations this World Cup will be very different from previous ones and we’ll have to see what happens next.
Something else I found interesting was learning about “sportswashing“; the laundering of an image through being associated with a sport. An example of this is the Hitler Olympics. Looking back at this, it’s really disturbing.
FIFA is shown to be a giant criminal organization filled with corruption, money laundering, and bribery. This doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone, this is now almost understood and expected from giant corporations, and in some cases, as it’s not the physical sport itself, and asks a very serious question: do fans really care?
What this documentary lacks is opinions from fans and the general public as they hold a lot more power than we’d like to believe. The two final episodes are driven by investigation and the allegations, the whistle-blowers, and the resignations and are really worth watching. In the final episode, we’re given a short look into the building of the stadium, and the allegations towards ill-treated workers dying whilst working on this project — basically modern slavery. We see a little behind-the-scenes showing the conditions, and they’re horrendous.
Then the final episode moves into the court cases and Blatter’s resignation in 2015 after being re-elected which no one saw coming. He was described as the Godfather of FIFA as if it were a Mafia-style organization. We’ve seen the rise and now we see the fall of Blatter.
Overall I think it’s very clear that FIFA is corrupt and to deny and suggest anything else is just ludicrous. If you have the money you can buy your way into power and status and clearly you can buy to host the World Cup. The politics behind the sport is overwhelming. Too many blurred lines and too many corrupt people. FIFA was supposed to uphold rules and values, but it was corrupted for personal gain, and this has tarnished the reputation and sport. A 24-year scheme to enrich themselves — this is one of the biggest sports scandals in history. With corruption being at the heart of FIFA’s culture, eyes are still wide on what is the future of FIFA. The main question for me is, can this organization be run ethically?
What did you think of FIFA Uncovered? Comment below.
You can watch this series with a subscription to Netflix.