Between June and July 2010, 64 games of football determined that Spain was the world’s best team at the World Cup in South Africa. South Africans – and the world – celebrated a brilliantly hosted tournament where everything worked like clockwork and the stands were packed with vuvuzela-wielding fans.
But the truth was not yet known. Behind this significant national achievement lay years of corporate skulduggery, crooked companies rigging tenders and match fixing involving the national team.
As late as 2015 it was revealed that the tournament’s very foundations were corrupt when evidence emerged that South Africa had encouraged FIFA to pay money to a bent official in the Caribbean to buy three votes in its favour.
As Sepp Blatter’s FIFA edifice crumbled, a web of transactions from New York to Trinidad and Tobago showed how money was diverted to allow South Africa’s bid to host the tournament to succeed.
In The Big Fix: How South Africa Stole the 2010 World Cup, Ray Hartley reveals the story of an epic national achievement and the people who undermined it in pursuit of their own interests. It is the real story of the 2010 World Cup.