1st Edition

Football, Corruption and Lies Revisiting 'Badfellas', the book FIFA tried to ban

By John Sugden, Alan Tomlinson Copyright 2017
    290 Pages
    by Routledge

    290 Pages
    by Routledge

    World football is in crisis. The corruption scandal engulfing FIFA is arguably the biggest story in the history of modern sport and a watershed for sport governance. More than a decade ago, John Sugden and Alan Tomlinson laid the foundations for subsequent investigations with the publication of Badfellas, a groundbreaking work of critical sport sociology that exposed the systematic corruption at the heart of world football. It was a book that FIFA and Sepp Blatter tried to ban.

    Now re-issued to combine the original contents of Badfellas with new chapters covering the current crisis, this book points to the ways in which FIFA’s new administration can learn from the Blatter story. The prequel traces the course of Sugden and Tomlinson’s game-changing investigation into FIFA, while the sequel updates the FIFA story from 2002 onwards and provides a chronology of crises and scandals within the FIFA narrative.

    Demonstrating the vital importance of critical investigative methods in sport studies, Football, Corruption and Lies: Revisiting Badfellas, the book FIFA tried to ban is essential reading for anybody looking to understand Blatter’s rise and fall.

    Preface to 2016 Edition/Re-issue

    Prequel: Badfellas Begins – Critical sociology and the purging of FIFA

    Badfellas: FIFA Family at War

    Preface [2003]

    1. Blattergate - Blatter consolidates power

    2. The Blazer-and-Slacks Brigade – FIFA’s amateur roots

    3. Goodbye, Colonel Blimp – Shifting political landscapes

    4. The Big Man - Havelange and the transformation of FIFA

    5. The Predator and the Protégé – Doing the business for FIFA

    6. The Bounty Hunter – The American way

    7. The Big Boss – Eastern horizons

    8. A Rumble in the Jungle – Johansson and the scramble for Africa

    9. From Protégé to President – Blatter takes the throne

    10. The Politics of the Belly – Garnering votes and gaining loyalty

    11. Tout Heaven – Tickets, markets and corruption

    12. The Best Club in the World – Cocooning the FIFA Family

    13. Bidding wars – Winners and losers in the World Cup hosting game

    14. The Terminator – Blatter cleans out FIFA House

    15. Fifaland – Imagining world football’s future

    Sequel: Badfellas on the Run

    Coda: The End of a Dynasty - Badfellas re-formed?


    Cast List



    John Sugden is Professor of the Sociology of Sport at the University of Brighton, UK. He is well known for his work on the sociology of boxing; sport and peace building in divided societies; his studies - with Alan Tomlinson - of the world governing body for football, FIFA; and for his investigative research into football’s underground economy. Currently, John is a leading member of the Sport and Leisure Cultures subject group and Director of the University of Brighton’s flagship worldwide community relations project, Football4peace.

    Alan Tomlinson is Professor of Leisure Studies, School of Humanities, at the University of Brighton, UK. He is a renowned scholar and researcher on the social history and sociology of sport, leisure and popular culture. Alan has researched the history and politics of FIFA since the mid-1980s, and is a pioneer of the critical social scientific study of sport. He is the author of numerous books on sport, leisure and consumption, including Consumption, Identity and Style and FIFA: The Men, the Myths and the Money as well as being a long-term contributor to the soccer periodical When Saturday Comes.

    'A brave, evidenced and sustained account of the governing body of world football, FIFA. If you care about the fate of the most popular game in the world and want to understand what could be done to move on from 2015 read this book. Two of the most intrepid voices, who both understand how football can operate in the humanitarian arena, have re-issued and extended a book of uncommon power and uncompromising argument.' - Grant Jarvie, former acting University Principal and Chair of Sport, University of Edinburgh, UK

    'Long before the FBI swooped on FIFA, John Sugden and Alan Tomlinson were on the case. Combining critical sociology with gonzo journalism, they pursued corrupt and ethically bankrupt practices in association football’s governing body with the stubborn tenacity of ethnographically-inspired investigative newshounds. This book documents the many twists and turns of a strange road trip, bringing their feisty 2003 book Badfellas back into the spotlight that FIFA’s lawyers had tried hard to extinguish. Detailing recent developments leading to the fall of the house of Blatter and his associates, the authors unflinchingly appraise the challenges facing genuine reformers of football governance.' - David Rowe, Professor of Cultural Research, Western Sydney University, Australia

    'Without the pioneering work and brilliant forensic journalism of Badfellas and their subsequent books, it is a frightening possibility that the discredited Blatter regime which blighted FIFA for so long, could still be in place. They started the ball rolling and all true lovers of the game should thank John Sugden and Alan Tomlinson for the part they played in exposing football’s greatest ever scandal.' - Mike Collett, Reuters Global Soccer Editor, UK

    'Long before FIFA became synonymous with an unsavory mélange of corruption and greed, John Sugden and Alan Tomlinson were on the case. In their pioneering and prescient book Football, Corruption and Lies: Revisiting ‘Badfellas’, the Book FIFA Tried to Ban, Sugden and Tomlinson take us on a rollicking ride through the grisly annals of FIFA, full of shady characters, backroom deals, and Machiavellian mayhem. Blending gumshoe investigative work with toothy sociological analysis, they untangle the history of brazen chicanery that paved a platinum-plated path for ‘Blattergate’ in 2015. Through a rich sequel and coda that detail the great unravel at FIFA in 2015, they bring us full circle, all the while sifting the sins from the spin. Sepp Blatter and his phalanx of lawyers tried to ban the original Badfellas from distribution in Switzerland, where FIFA is headquartered, but their heyday is passé. Sugden, Tomlinson, and their ilk have won the day. Insightful and incisive, Football, Corruption and Lies is a must read for anyone interested in the history of FIFA’s profligacy, the modern-day malaise in which it is mired, and possible pathways forward.' - Jules Boykoff, Professor of Political Science, Pacific University in Oregon, USA

    'Football, Corruption and Lies is a brilliant rejuvenation of Badfellas. In its original form, the book was a courageous exposé of the septic nature of FIFA’s leadership and governance. This updated rendition prompts reflection as to how such corruption flourished and, moreover, why it fell to a handful of academics and supportive journalists to reveal a festering underbelly of deceit, profiteering and bullying. The book’s new sections, which evaluate the fall from grace of Blatter and his acolytes, are just as poignant. With the Badfellas having been marched off by the FBI, FIFA is in no position to try to ban Football, Corruption and Lies.' - Daryl Adair, Associate Professor of Sport Management, University of Technology Sydney, Australia