Planet FIFA (2016)

‘Planet FIFA’ (2016) 40 years of corruption in 94 minutes

Thank Jean-Louis Pérez for making this documentary. La Planète FIFA is an easy way to trace 40 years of corruption in 94 minutes. Perez specializes in documentaries that center on money and economics as the root of evil, and FIFA gives him plenty of fertile soil to till.

See how it all started with the recently deceased Brazilian, Joao Havelange. In 1974, He used the tools of global travel and payoffs to usurp the British gentleman in charge of FIFA. Havelange was the first to organize the African and South/Central American nations to vote for him in blocks. As one of his tactics, he personally paid off the FIFA dues for those African nations who were in arrears, thereby allowing them to vote for him. Once in power, he brought in the Adidas and television sponsorships that made FIFA and the World Cup a billion-dollar business.

I thought I had followed the FIFA scandal pretty closely, but Director Perez brings information of which I was unaware, as well as many interviews of key players who tried to fight or at least bring the corruption to light. For example, in 2014 under FIFA’s direction, US Attorney Michael Garcia issued a 400-page report on the corruption in the selection of World Cup sites Russia and Qatar. But this report was then locked away, and only a misleading summary was published. Garcia quit in protest, but unfortunately he is contractually prohibited from divulging his real conclusions.

There are also shockingly sad examples of the corrupt officials, their lavish lifestyles, and the unfinished FIFA projects “for soccer” that failed to come to fruition.

I also learned of a few organizations who wish to change FIFA:

The bottom line is that getting rid of Sepp and Platini is not sufficient. The people interviewed conclude FIFA requires a major change in leadership, evoking culture change. With members of the old executive committee still in charge, we can’t expect progress to occur, and business as usual will prevail for decades to come.

Update Sep-26-2017: Documentarian and lawyer Craig Turner has created 2 films on the stadiums that FIFA required South Africa and Brazil to build, decreasing the welfare of their societies but profiting FIFA $billions. Watch World Cup Soccer in South Africa: Who Really Wins? and The March of the White Elephants.

7 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 7