Football writer talks on FIFA’s fall and other failings

Wednesday 8 November 2017

Investigative journalist David Conn isn’t a typical sports reporter – instead of covering the action on the pitch he digs deep into what goes on behind the scenes.

Speaking to an audience at The Grammar School at Leeds, David talked about his career uncovering the lies and corruption that have tainted football at national and global level. The school hosted the event on behalf of Milim, the Festival of Jewish Words.

Although he always wanted to write, David started his career as a lawyer. He now writes for the Guardian and says the legal training and experience of working in a professional environment has helped him with his chosen direction in journalism.

David’s latest book The Fall of the House of FIFA exposes the extent of the corruption in football’s world governing body and profiles the key players within it.

He said: “It was the biggest story about football and money and I tried to establish how FIFA officials were so untouchable for so long. It was revelatory for me to write the book and put the story in context.”

The book includes an exclusive interview with the man often seen as the villain of the piece, Sepp Blatter, after his ban as president of FIFA. David says he aimed to give a more rounded picture of someone who has not after all been accused of any fraud.

David has a track record in exposing malpractice in football, including his earlier books The Football Business and The Beautiful Game looking at how greed and self-interest have blighted the national game.

He has also written extensively on the Hillsborough disaster, which has shown how his kind of journalism can really make a difference. He said: “The best part is where you’re digging into something so important and it demands attention and prompts a change. The deadly mistakes and lies lasted decades and it felt important to pay proper respect to the people who died.”

David is pictured (right) with Phil Goldstone from Milim (photo courtesy of John Fisher).

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