When FIFA awarded the tiny desert state of Qatar the rights to host the 2022 World Cup, the news was greeted with disbelief and allegations of corruption. How had a country with almost no football infrastructure or tradition, a high terror risk and searing summer temperatures of 50C beaten more established countries with stronger bids? The story behind the Qatari success soon developed into one of the greatest sporting scandals of our time.
And when the Sunday TimesInsight team received a cache of hundreds of millions of documents from a whistleblower, the contents of the FIFA Files became a global sensation, unearthing the corruption that lay at the heart of the bidding process.
Now in this remarkable new book by the Sunday Timesjournalists at the centre of the investigation, Heidi Blake and Jonathan Calvert, comes the most comprehensive account yet of what happened and who was involved. Above all, it explains why, despite all the evidence, FIFA under Sepp Blatter continues to support Qatar - even to the extent of publishing an edited and abbreviated report into the process that was immediately denounced by its original author. Longlisted for the William Hill prize, The Ugly Gameis undoubtedly the biggest sporting story of the year.
Heidi Blake is a multi-award-winning investigative journalist. She was assistant editor of The Sunday Times, attached to the Insight team, until spring 2015 when she became BuzzFeed’s UK investigations editor. She lives in south-east London.
Jonathan Calvert has worked for various newspapers in a long and distinguished career as an investigative journalist. He is the longest-serving editor of the Insight team at The Sunday Times, having held the role for more than ten years, He lives in west London.
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