JLife recently spoke to football journalist David Conn…
David Conn is one of football’s most respected and topical investigative journalists and his latest book, The Fall of the House of FIFA, is out now.
In his most recent book David, who writes for The Guardian, focuses on the history of FIFA, football’s world governing body and the allegations of corruption that have haunted the organisation, including an extended interview with Sept Blatter, a former FIFA president.
“It’s my fourth book,” David tells JLife. “It’s about the story of the corruption scandal at FIFA. Obviously it culminated in the famous arrests of FIFA officials in May 2015. That was part of a huge US criminal investigation into multimillion dollar bribes and kick-backs.
“Part of what I’m doing with this book,” he continues “is pulling together strands of a huge story that people will already know about – the arrests, the banning of former president Blatter in 2015 and other major episodes – into one story about this world governing body of the most popular sport on earth and how it fell into this culture of massive corruption.
“When I started reporting on FIFA these people were untouchable. To see so many of them charged with criminal offences, with some pleading guilty and banned for breaches of the rules, has been extraordinary.”
“This book tells the story as a narrative, alongside the history of FIFA, which is actually quite inspiring in a way,” David elaborates. “It was formed in 1904 by European countries just to play football and it has grown into this world-wide body; it’s an amazing story of sporting development. And that makes the betrayal by these people even worse because they are betraying this game that so many people love and play with innocence.
“I hope that it’s imbued with a love of football all the way through, because I’m trying to communicate that this isn’t just a corruption story…this is [about] the body that’s running the game we all love.”
David, who has been named Sports News Reporter of the Year three times by the Sports Journalists Association, will also be speaking about his latest literary offering at The Grammar School at Leeds on 7th November, an event organised by Leeds literary initiative Milim and sponsored by solicitors and experts in sports law, FrontRow Legal.
“I did a Milim event recently and I really enjoyed that. I had a really warm reception from people. It’s very nice for me to be invited to speak again,” he says. “I hope it’ll be an enlightening evening about a fascinating and startling story, but also entertaining.”
If you can’t wait that long, David will also be hosting a talk on his book at Ilkley Literature Festival on 14th October.
For more information, visit Milim.org.uk.