Discovery +  is to air two-parter The Men Who Sold the World Cup on the eve of the 2022 Football World Cup in Qatar.

Directed by Daniel DiMauro and Morgan Pehme and produced by Story Films and Calliope Pictures, the documentary reveals the story 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.

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 the Arab state of Qatar – a desert nation with baking summer temperatures, zero world-class stadiums, a population mostly indifferent to soccer and lots of money.

The documentary will air on Discovery + on October 21st, before  the World Cup begins in Qatar.

Simon Downing, Head of Factual and Sports UK at Discovery, says: “The series is a great addition to our discovery+ Original Sports content, including highly successful titles like Reaching The Sky and What Killed Maradona?

The two-parter goes inside FIFA during the era of Sepp Blatter, the infamous ex-president who presided over world football for decades. The characters include 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 investigation and scoop that revealed 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 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.

Jon Creamer

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