Brand-new discovery+ Original documentary on football’s darkest period and the influential football figures responsible
Discovery has today announced the commission of The Men Who Sold the World Cup (2x60). The compelling two-part film from critically acclaimed directors Daniel DiMauro and Morgan Pehme (Get Me Roger Stone, The Swamp) is the definitive, unbelievable story of how football’s biggest competition was sold to the highest bidders.
Made in partnership with award-winning producers Story Films and Calliope Pictures, The Men Who Sold the World Cup will premiere exclusively on discovery+ on 21st October.
The awarding of the World Cup to countries around the world had been rumoured to have been infested with bribery, corruption, global politics, backroom deals and greed. It all came to a head when the 2022 World Cup was awarded to Qatar - a desert nation with baking summer temperatures, zero world-class stadiums, a population mostly indifferent to soccer... and lots of money.
With exclusive interviews from those right at the heart of the story, the documentary reveals the stranger-than-fiction truth behind how the world’s biggest sporting event was sold by some of international football’s most senior officials and how they were eventually evicted from their seats of power and luxury lifestyles.
This revealing documentary takes centre stage as the world’s attention turns to the tiny Arab state of Qatar and 500 million people prepare to watch the spectacle of the World Cup unfold.
With unique testimonials lifting the lid on a rip-roaring story, viewers are taken inside FIFA during the era of Sepp Blatter, the infamous ex-president who presided over world football for decades. This was a world where for some, normal rules didn't apply and bribery and embezzlement were just part of business.
This is a Shakespearian narrative of money, power and corruption, featuring a cast of outrageous characters including US soccer bigwig, Chuck Blazer and Qatari deal-maker, Mohamed Bin Hammam.
Contributors include a whistle-blower from the Qatari bid team; Blatter's former Press chief, soccer greats including Jurgen Klinsmann and Landon Donovan ... and Sepp Blatter himself.
The first episode features Sunday Times investigators Heidi Blake and Jonathan Calvert and follows their incredible investigation and scoop of the century that revealed rampant corruption at the heart of FIFA. The second episode features FBI and IRS investigators whose job it was to expose criminal behaviour at the heart of an organisation with a structure they likened to The Mob.
The Men Who Sold the World Cup will be available to stream exclusively on discovery+.
The show was ordered by Discovery’s Myriam Lopez-Otazu, Group VP Content & Acquisitions EMEA and APAC, Simon Downing SVP Marketing, Head of Factual & Sport, and Victoria Noble, VP Original Content, Factual. Executive Producers for Story Films are David Nath and Peter Beard, and Jeremy Phillips at Discovery.