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Mon 30 May 2011 20:00 BBC Radio 4

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 29 May 2011

FIFA's power to award the World Cup, the global super event sought by so many nations, means it holds the dreams of millions of football fans in its hands. Consequently kings, presidents and prime ministers seek FIFA's sporting jewel, anxious to secure glory and status for their nation. The sensational decision to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 World Cup to Qatar made global headlines. But FIFA also administers the whole of world football, presiding over an organisation with more members than the U.N.

On June 1st the current FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, seeks re-election. Standing against him, insider and President of the Asian F.A. Mohammed Bin Hammam. It is an election beset by scandal, full of bitter accusation with FIFA riven by unprecedented internecine warfare.

Sociologist and sports historian David Goldblatt (author of The Ball is Round) asks what is FIFA ? Where has it come from and who is it for? Tracing its 107 year history from humble, part time origins in Paris to its multi-billion pound manifestation at its ultra modern Zurich H.Q. . An organization, which as late as the 1970's employed less than 10 full-time staff, and has now changed beyond all recognition to wield global, economic, political and cultural influence.

Goldblatt hears from those who have documented its story and its secrets and from those who have helped shaped its modern identity. From the man who sold world football to the corporate giants; the man who knows what makes FIFA and its president tick; and from the Swiss M.P. seeking to bring FIFA to heel.

Producer: Mark Burman.

  • Presenter David Goldblatt inside FIFA's Zurich HQ

    Presenter David Goldblatt inside FIFA's Zurich HQ

    Next to a replica of the world's most sought after sporting prize

  • Inside FIFA

    Inside FIFA

    David Goldblatt sits inside FIFA's Press Centre

  • Inside FIFA

    Inside FIFA

    David Goldblatt stands at the head of FIFA's Executive Committee Room in Zurich


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