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David Yallop

How They Stole The Game

First published: 1999     ISBN: 0 9535710 0 9

Do you consider yourself to be the most powerful man in the world?

How They Stole The Game - 2011 EditionMost men asked such a question would demur, would dismiss it with a laugh. Dr João Havelenge, President of Fédération Internationale De Football Association (FIFA) did not demur and he certainly did not laugh.

"I've been to Russia twice, invited by President Yeltsin. I've been to Poland with their President. In the 1990 World Cup in Italy I saw Pope John Paul II three times. When I go to Saudi Arabia, King Fahd welcomes me in splendid fashion. In Belgium I had a one-and-a-half hour meeting with King Albert. Do you think a Head of State will spare that much time to just anyone? That's respect. That's the strength of FIFA. I can talk to any President, but they'll be talking to a President too on an equal basis. They've got their power, and I've got mine: the power of football, which is the greatest power there is."

That's the Havelenge version of "yes".

In this remarkable book David Yallop probes to the very heart of the ‘greatest power’.A unique two-day interview with Havelenge and interviews his successor Sepp Blatter, with his defeated rival Lennart Johansson, the legendary Pele and with many others would make this book unique, but his account of the life and times of Havelenge and the corruption that swirled around the man who was the Godfather of football for a quarter of a century is what ensured that How The Stole The Game has become a landmark in the evolution of world football - a religion to millions of fans but a multi-billion dollar business to those at the heart of the administration of the game.