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Red Card: How the U.S. Blew the Whistle on the World's Biggest Sports Scandal

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  905 ratings  ·  93 reviews
The definitive, shocking account of the FIFA scandal—the biggest international corruption case of recent years, spearheaded by US investigators, involving dozens of countries, and implicating nearly every aspect of the world’s most popular sport, soccer, including its biggest event, the World Cup.

The FIFA case began small, boosted by an IRS agent’s review of an American so
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published June 12th 2018 by Simon Schuster
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Average rating 4.14  · 
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 ·  905 ratings  ·  93 reviews

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Maria Espadinha
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Football Behind the Scene - A Sordid Sort of Game

Up to now, none of my both feet showed any kind of motivation towards what we call in Portugal the King of Sports. His Majesty the Football Game is there on streets, backyards, lawns... but none of my feet seems to bow at His Highness. Instead, they both pass by indifferently, proceeding with their placid pace...

The reason I’m telling you this has to do with my attitude towards anything related to soccer, which is nothing but a Hi, Bye and move on
Maria Espadinha
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Money Makes the ⚽️ Go Round

Although I would never include soccer in my list of interests, when it takes to human behavior, I’m all eyes and ears. Therefore, my decision to give this book a try!
Humans are strange complex creatures who can give their best at worst, and mutatis mutandis, their worst at best!
Extreme real life situations, often turn into quite enjoyable books, unveiling a bit (a lot?!) more of human nature and potential.
In this particular case, money is involved as a catalyst of gree
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I found this book about the investigation and eventual downfall of international soccer's governing body read more like a political and financial thriller than a non-fiction sports book. That isn't to say that I didn't like it - but it was certainly different, in a good way, than what I expected. Ken Bensinger's meticulous attention to detail and his writing style made this book one to enjoy, despite the intense detail and numerous characters. It certainly raised my eyebrows on more than one occ ...more
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Bensinger’s Red Card has everything you could want in a book about scandal: moneyed power brokers who take from poor and give to the rich, strong lawmen and women who strive to right the wrongs, and a satisfying take-down in the end. This book provides a strong vote of confidence for the FBI and law enforcement everywhere. It is an excellent piece of journalism. I also have to note that I have never played a official game of soccer in my life, no youth leagues, no intramurals, no co-ed rec leagu ...more
Dec 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.25 stars.

Bensinger has a lively story to tell and he tells it very well. The chapters are short and the pace is steady. Descriptions of the American federal law enforcement process are clear, thorough and uncomplicated and help the reader understand how the case originated and grew. Fans of the early seasons of Law & Order would probably appreciate the author's style. The case at heart is giant and operated on an international scale and could have made for an unwieldy book but Bensinger keeps
Athan Tolis
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: law, business
To stay alive, small business often needs to operate outside the edges of what’s legal. And international football used to be small business. So, with the exception of the odd British gentleman here or there, international football used to be run by small time crooks.

And then, suddenly, sponsors arrived, gagging to spend money. The money was lavished on the same small-time crooks, who did not even think of ever changing their ways. Coca Cola and Adidas are credited with starting this dance and
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, sport
This book makes me very angry. I knew FIFA was rotten to the core, but until now, I was unaware of how corrupt it was. This book offers tremendous detail and how the good guys worked.
Erin Schaick
Aug 04, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a truly fascinating story and the author did a great job of laying out context and the levels of corruption in many countries and organizations. I’m giving it 3 stars because I listened to this via audiobook and there were simply too many characters and plot lines to keep track of this way. I’d definitely recommend reading this one in print!
Ward Muylaert
Jan 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, football
Interesting view behind the scenes of the corruption in football. Can only assume it is the same everywhere in every sport.
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Thanks to Netgalley and Simon and Schuster for the ARC of this non-fiction title. This book, outlining the investigation into professional soccer corruption, was fascinating. It wasn’t hard to separate the good guys from the bad guys here and I found myself really rooting for the US law enforcement members that were tasked with unraveling a highly complex international operation. Score one for the good guys. I know I won’t be able to see any World Cup games this year without thinking about this ...more
Paras Kapadia
Jun 18, 2019 rated it liked it
More like 2.5. The biggest corruption scandal in the world's most popular and rich sporting body is an exciting topic. The way IRS and federal investigators unearth and piece together the vast net of corruption is commendable. The writing and prose of the book is a massive letdown. The book reads more like a law officers case report than an readable narrative. Extremely disappointing since the author does all the hard work and research. The countless characters create fatigue and everyone gets a ...more
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Complicated story clearly written. Somewhat of a cross (pun intended) between Serpico and The Big Short. I am still eager for the World Cup, despite the absence of the U.S. and the existence of this book. Ultimately a downer as corruption unlikely to cease. FIFA would take a giant step forward by pulling 2022 Cup from Qatar, as the only logical reason for it being played there is the bribes.
Casey Gattshall
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very detailed and thorough review of the events leading up to the indictment of several of FIFA’s top officials. The book reads like a thriller and I couldn’t stop turning the pages once I got started. A must read for any soccer fan.
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it

“The story of modern soccer was really about the emergence of a new kind of business, one that turned out to have corruption baked into it nearly from the moment it was born.”

This book proves what many people throughout the world have known for a long time, that the people in charge of FIFA and it’s various other associated brands throughout the planet, have been dictated by a group of obnoxious, cheating, liars who have stolen hundreds of millions of dollars from football, money that could have
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: futbol
a book practically tailor-made for me because i
1. love to know gossip – escándalo!
2. enjoy reading about football
3. am always trying to scratch the girl with the dragon tattoo itch of 'overly-detailed crime thriller'

my issue is that it should have been called "how FANS blew the whistle on the world's biggest sports scandal" because that's who many of them were. were they american? yeah. but they tugged on the threads because they love the game and were suspect of the organization who loftily ran
Jennifer Madgiak
Aug 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very challenging nonfiction read- the book covered decades of political and financial corruption with dozens of people.
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Worth the read. CC: @HBO @Netflix @Paramount @Hulu @WarnerBrothers ; worth the production investment!
Pedro Cavalcanti
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-read
Good to the point that I’ve continued reading despite the fact they call football “soccer” during the whole book
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Here is a good story rushed out to press a little too quickly in order to cash in on the buzz around the 2018 World Cup.

Massive corruption in the ranks of FIFA, high and low, is now well documented thanks to the perseverance of the US Internal Revenue Service, the FBI, and regional Justice Department prosecutors.

Not many people went to jail fully three years after the initial indictments, and hundreds of millions of contraband funds are stuck in litigation in New York courtrooms and the US Treas
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
The definitive, shocking account of the FIFA scandal—the biggest international corruption case of recent years, spearheaded by US investigators, involving dozens of countries, and implicating nearly every aspect of the world’s most popular sport, soccer, including its biggest event, the World Cup.

The FIFA case began small, boosted by an IRS agent’s review of an American soccer official’s tax returns. But that humble investigation eventually led to a huge worldwide corruption scandal that crossed
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, sports
From the idea of an IRS agent in California looking into and American soccer official to a huge investigation, guilty pleas and trials in 2017 this look into corruption in FIFA was fascinating. The sheer amount of bribe taking was staggering and the egos and personalities involved were larger than life. Like Chuck Blazer who turned his involvement in soccer from soccer dad to multimillions from kickbacks to Jack Webb CONCACAF president elected to clean up the sport who immediately began taking b ...more
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Oh my, I just don't believe it. Like, I just can't believe it. Holy scandal, like an episode of a tv show or movie, but no, this was real life. It is simply astonishing that all this corruption happened involving so many people, from so many countries, from so many organizations, for so many years. OMG! Wow, really, like wow. I don't care of you like soccer or not, this book & the story being told is incredible. You can't help but be so intrigued by how it all unfolds. But the other thing is how ...more
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you've ever wondered what has happened to soccer since those arrests (or, if, like my soccer unaware friends didn't even know this was a thing) then look no further (and honestly, if you do you won't find anything else on the subject in print). Told in a concise reporters voice, with a corporate tree and a cast of characters, this book sets off on a journey that will cause you to miss social engagements for a few days. It's engaging and riveting and basically a good ole-fashion-page-turning-w ...more
Neil Fox
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
The ugly face of the beautiful game is exposed in all its sordid detail in Ken Bensinger’s well researched work on the joint FBI, US justice department and IRS investigation and takedown for corruption of the Kingpins of FIFA, the World Governing body of Football (or ‘soccer’ as the American author calls it).

Rarely has an organization, be it in politics, business or sport, been so thoroughly rotten to the core as FIFA under the reign of Sepp Blatter, resembling more a Mafia organization than the
Jerred Smith
Dec 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As one highly interested in both playing and watching soccer, this book interested me immensely. The story of the enormous scandal of FIFA spans a myriad of years, places, and people, and is explored thoroughly to great effect by Bensinger in this book. Despite its complexity, Bensinger moves smoothly from character to character, smoothly integrating numerous stories into one another and exploring their connections and significance to a bigger picture of worldwide corruption and exploitation as ...more
I confess that international football (or soccer here in the US) is not a sport that I follow, but this fascinating exposé has enough twists and turns to satisfy my interest in true crime and surely it's a no brainer for anyone who does follow this big-money sport. It all started when an IRS agent followed up on discrepancies in the tax return of an American affiliated with FIFA (the Fédération Internationale de Football Association). Years of undercover work later, with both the IRS and the FBI ...more
Feb 24, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was very well researched and offered an entertaining account of the investigation into FIFA corruption. While I do believe the important facts are correct, I wonder about whether some of the characters interactions and thoughts were a bit extrapolated from limited data available to the author. Regardless, the author did well with what was no doubt a complicated investigation—there are a great number of characters, and the chapters often jump to focus on different people so sometimes it ...more
Somya Sharma
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Book review- The book #redcard is written by kautik shrivastava
And is one of the most relatable and adorable book i have read💞

The book revolves around Rishabh Bala who has recently admitted to 10th standard and is now facing a lot of turmoil in his life!
He is extremely scred about his board exams and is taking a lot of pressure about it.
At that time he fells in love too💞
Rishabh had a deep passion for football and he wanted to lift the cup of his school football team💞Then his life takes a lot
Aug 15, 2018 rated it liked it
The author's annoying habit of gratuitously and unnecessarily tossing in physical descriptions of every person he mentions was aggravating to say the least A few of the many examples of what I mean: On page 184 "Hawilla, bald with soft chin, wire rim glasses, and big dark eyes, had been sound asleep..." On page 244 "Bald and stocky, with glasses and a salt-and-pepper beard, Paez had..." On page 283 "With a bald, bulging head, and thick black brows, he began showing off his linguistic dexterity.. ...more
Sep 11, 2018 rated it liked it
An informative piece of investigative journalism that looks at the largest sports scandal in history. This book gave all the information on how the FBI took down FIFA. It was so interesting, and a little upsetting, to read about the bribes involved within FIFA's top execs and is the main reason why the most recent world cup was held in Russia and the next world cup is in Qatar. It was truly fascinating. Being a big soccer fan, it was a little upsetting though to read about these men, who honestl ...more
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