Football is a global sport that brings countries together. This sport has been a medium for friendship between countries for over a century. FIFA entered the scene as a regulatory body in 1904 and has continued to be the governing body of football since then.
What if this organisation falls prey to corruption? How does it affect football? Recently a four-part documentary FIFA Uncovered by Netflix, reveals the scandals that turned the world of FIFA upside down in recent years.
The exposé started in 2015 when FIFA was bombarded with court cases and Sepp Blatter, the FIFA president since 1998, was impeached.
Later investigations reveal that this international sports organisation is stained with allegations of bribery, money laundering and rampant corruption. The very organisation tasked with promoting and ensuring the sportsmanship of football is now a mafia-esque organisation that will do whatever it needs to increase its gains.
Sepp Blatter remained at the top of this crime ring and was called the Godfather of FIFA. So how has FIFA regressed into this? Various football administrators and sports journalists gave their interviews for this documentary to reveal FIFA's wrongdoings for the past 40 years.
From its inception in 1974, FIFA was a general regulatory body for football concerned with organising global tournaments such as World Cup and youth competitions and seeking to promote football to countries in Asia and Africa. Capitalism entered FIFA after 1974 when João Havelange became the new president. As an avid Brazilian industrialist, he opened the floodgates for multinational corporations to sponsor various tournaments of FIFA.
Football would gain much more if sponsors only stuck to promoting the sport. But corporate greed and corrupted officials soon started to influence FIFA, culminating in bribery to gain the power to host world cups in recent years.
Sepp Blatter is the ringleader of this mess, though he appears in this documentary to defend his wrongdoings and try to establish the fact that he did all of them only for the betterment of football.
In this documentary, the audience gets acquainted with the word 'Sportswashing.' This term is used when an ideology or image is illegally promoted through sports.
The documentary showed its example through the 1978 World Cup, held by the ruthless dictator who ruled Argentina. Erstwhile FIFA president Havelange defended it by claiming to let the tournament happen only for the spirit of football, but in reality, it's just sportswashing.
Sportswashing also happened in recent years, when FIFA held the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where the government was besieged with human rights violation allegations and the upcoming 2022 World Cup in Qatar, where the government is accused of forcefully making workers work in harsh and dangerous conditions.
In the final episode, the audience will witness the haste construction of Qatar stadiums and the workers' ill-treatment. Over 6 years, more than 6500 migrant workers from South Asia died due to a lack of safety and hazardous working conditions. Still, Qatar gets to host this world cup which will start in just a few days.
FIFA Uncovered is certainly an eye-opener for football fans who get to know the ugly face of FIFA critically.