Categories
Documentary

Is ‘The Holy Game’ (2021) sportswashing

Director Brent Hodge did not intend to make a film about why men enter the Catholic priesthood. At the outset, he and co-director Chris Kelly thought their film would be a comedic pop culture documentary, a movie genre niche that is Hodge’s specialty. They envisioned fat friars sweating in the Vatican-sponsored football tournament known as The Clericus Cup.

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Documentary

‘Fixed!’ (2020) – how to play the match-fixing game

Once you’ve served prison time for match fixing, what is the easiest way to keep making money? Claim yourself notorious, become a consultant, and get paid to give interviews about corruption in FIFA. 

The story of match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal first broke in 2010, when as a FIFA Match Agent, Perumal arranged an international friendly between Bahrain and a fake team from Togo. The resulting outrage brought the match-fixing to light.

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Notes

Notes: The Garcia Report details FIFA corruption on every page

It is incredibly unfortunate that media like the Washington Post and the NY Times downplayed the 2014 Garcia Report, with headlines saying that there was “no smoking gun”. Virtually every page in this independent report from Michael Garcia’s Investigatory Chamber details FIFA’s corrupt methods in selecting the sites for WC 2018 and WC 2022.

I’ve reviewed several movies about FIFA corruption, but this document clearly lays out  in business details and email flows, the operational procedures that comprise FIFA’s corrupt practices, and how an investigator breaks it all down.

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Documentary

‘The FIFA Family’ (2017) – a never-ending corruption story

Thank DR, the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, for bringing the stories of Chuck Blazer and the corruption behind the Qatar World Cup to the public in such an easily digestible form.The FIFA Family: A Love Story dissects how Blazer’s plea deal to become an undercover informant led to the arrest of 6 members of the FIFA Executive Committee (Ex-Co) on May 27, 2015.

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Documentary

Shakhtar Donetsk is ‘The Other Chelsea’ (2010)

Although The Other Chelsea is 10 years old, it is a valuable film to watch in the context of today’s impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump. First-time Writer-Director Jakob Preuss lays out the struggling lives of coal miners in Donetsk and compares them to Kolya, a young rising local politician and businessman who drives a Lexus and drinks very old cognac. What ties them together is the success of their football team, FC Shakhtar Donetsk (Шахта́р Донецьк).

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Documentary

‘Foul Play’ (2017) – it’s easy to fix matches in Indonesia

Director Suridh Hassan put together this documentary about corruption in Southeast Asian football, mostly covering Indonesia. He follows the season of UK manager Simon McMenemy, who coaches Indonesian side Mitrar Kukar FC. He also conducts interviews with a youth coach, a physio, and a journalist who explain how easy and pervasive match fixing is in the area. The bottom line is: Don’t bet on games in Indonesia and Singapore.

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Documentary

‘The Workers Cup’ (2017) normalizes Qatar

Now that WC 2018 has finished in Russia (Congratulations to Les Bleus!), the eyes of the world turn to WC 2022 in Qatar. But as happened with Russia, the eyes of football fans are blind to the exploitation and corruption that FIFA has facilitated for these two tournaments. The Workers Cup might open your eyes a little, but to me, Adam Sobel’s film normalizes the conditions in Qatar.

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Notes

Notes: The Problems with Football Agents

The 2011 film Soka Afrika got me wondering, how does a player in Africa find the right agent? How do players avoid scams by fraudulent football agents that will turn them into victims of human trafficking?

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Documentary

So many ways to cheat in ‘Dirty Games’ (2016)

As sports fans, we should all thank Director Benjamin Best for his investigative journalism. We like to think that the games on which we spend so much time, money, and emotion, are equally true to us, the fans and supporters.

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Documentary

More FIFA corruption in ‘The March of the White Elephants’ (2015)

In The March of the White Elephants, Director Craig Tanner continues the work he began with his first film, exposing the societal insanity of spending billions on stadiums for a one month soccer party.

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Documentary

Romanian corruption in ‘Craiova versus Craiova’ (2016)

What is the most extraordinary aspect of the documentary Craiova versus Craiova? It’s not that 2 teams claimed to be the same club and then played each other in the Romanian Second Division. What’s amazing is that this excellent film was created by a student as his senior journalism project at a Brazilian university. Director João Vítor Roberge was 22 years old when he released this 45 minute film last year.

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Documentary

‘The Romanov Revolution’ (2005) – a Russian oligarch story

Evil Russian men come in many stereotypes: dictators, KGB, hackers, hooligans, doping athletes, oligarchs, and football team owners. The Romanov Revolution is a 2005 BBC Frontline Scotland TV documentary about Vladimir Romanov, then new owner of Heart of Midlothian FC, in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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Documentary

‘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.

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Documentary

‘World Cup Soccer in Africa: Who Really Wins?’ (2010)

Originally titled Fahrenheit 2010, this film provides reams of detail on the issues and controversy around hosting the FIFA 2010 World Cup in South Africa. In Nov-Dec 2008, first-time Director Craig Tanner interviews leaders on both sides in the country.

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Documentary

‘Coach Zoran’ (2014) – a goat his only friend in South Sudan

Watching the BBC documentary Coach Zoran and his African Tigers is like watching a train wreck, where the runaway locomotive is the Serbian coach of the new South Sudan national team.