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The scandal that changed professional soccer

The FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland.
The FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland.
Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images

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In his book, “RED CARD: How the U.S. Blew the Whistle on the World’s Biggest Sports Scandal,” Ken Bensinger puts the spotlight on the 2015 scandal that surrounded the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), the Zurich-based association responsible for soccer’s major international tournaments including the World Cup.

RED CARD tells the story of how American investigators unraveled the biggest international corruption case in sports history. Bensinger, who was part of the investigative team at BuzzFeed News that published the Trump Russia dossier in early 2017, shows us how FIFA’s executives transformed the sport of soccer into a bribe-fueled operation, sucking up hundreds of millions of dollars in a sprawling scheme.

FIFA’s corruption ran for decades, undercutting every aspect of the sport - from the World Cup host bid process to broadcasting and marketing rights. It took an American IRS agent, Steve Berryman, and a team made up of a cerebral New York prosecutor and FBI agents, to finally build a criminal case against soccer’s global governing body.


Ken Bensinger, author of the book, “RED CARD: How the U.S. Blew the Whistle on the World's Biggest Sports Scandal” (Simon & Schuster 2018); investigative reporter for BuzzFeed News and a long-time award-winning journalist, who has written about a variety of topics, including sports, arts and politics; he tweets @kenbensinger