10 episodes

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.

Lords of Soccer iHeartPodcasts

    • Sports
    • 4.7 • 74 Ratings

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.

    The World Cup of Shame, Part 2

    The World Cup of Shame, Part 2

    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.

    • 38 min
    The World Cup of Shame, Part 1

    The World Cup of Shame, Part 1

    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.

    • 25 min
    See No Evil

    See No Evil

    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.

    • 28 min
    The Era of Gold

    The Era of Gold

    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.

    • 39 min
    The Colonialist

    The Colonialist

    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.

    • 34 min
    The Fall of Sepp

    The Fall of Sepp

    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.

    • 48 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
74 Ratings

74 Ratings

Don Yimmy ,

Incredibly well done

Easy to listen to and a fascinating story told so well by the pure voice of Conor Powell.

PsycheSpeaks ,

Fascinating Corruption Story

A compelling story of corruption and you don’t have to be a football fanatic to understand. Engaging, well composed and I can’t wait to hear more!

Whale Blowhole ,

Predictable

I’m amazed you waited until Episode 5 for “White Man Bad”. Pathetic and completely predictable.

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