FIFA Uncovered Season 1 Review – Ugly corruption in the beautiful game

Season 1

Episode Guide

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4


On the eve of the very first Middle-Eastern World Cup, taking place in the small sandy state of Qatar, Netflix know exactly what they’re doing by releasing this documentary now, 11 days before the big event. Aptly titled FIFA Uncovered, this four-part docu-series dives into the corrupt heart of the footballing state.

From power struggles to global politics, FIFA Uncovered really points the finger at one man, serving as the proverbial puppet master, pulling the strings and overseeing all of it – and not with a shred of remorse either. That man is Sepp Blatter.

The docu-series essentially works as a two-fold examination, one of Sepp Blatter’s rise to power and all the corruption that went into the World Cup falling to South Africa, Russia and Qatar, but also to ask one simple question – Why was Qatar awarded the World Cup?

The latter point doesn’t really come into the fold until episode 3, with the first 2 instead more interested in showing Blatter’s rise and subsequent stranglehold over FIFA. There are other top officials caught in the firing line though, including executive Jack Warner and the rather ironic “whistleblowing” from Chuck Blazer…who actually happened to be just as guilty as the parties he outed.

This first half works pretty well to show how the structure of FIFA and its governing body allowed the company to essentially resemble a cartel. Huge sums of money are exchanged “under the table” for World Cup bids, with Phaedra Almajid’s statement in particular bringing all of this to light.

The third and fourth episode works to really hone in on the Qatar bid and the wider implications for geopolitics and football intermingling together. What’s particularly interesting here though is how balanced the argument actually is. Some of that helps by bringing in Qatari figureheads to explain why the bid for Qatar was actually just and fair, and how the underdogs won the day. There’s certainly a good deal of passion here and he goes to explain why the World Cup is so important on the world stage – and for it to take place in Qatar.

However, there are points that underpin this of course, including the rising summer temperatures that FIFA seemingly overlooked completely while giving the bid to Qatar, forcing the World Cup to be moved to Winter, proving to be a logistical nightmare for leagues across the world.

There’s also a pretty American slant over the bid for the 2022 World Cup, as if the US should have been given the tournament instead but (and I’m not just saying this as a Brit myself), England had a pretty good shout too, given the number of stadium and the infrastructure already in place.

Despite that, this documentary ends on an ominous note, casting an ugly shadow over the future of our beautiful game. With the Champions League already being reformed, rumblings of the Super League still waiting in the shadows to pounce, and UEFA very much going the same route as FIFA, the landscape for world football in the future remains ominously uncertain.

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  • Verdict - 7.5/10

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