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When the tiny desert state of Qatar won the rights to host the 2022 World Cup, the news was greeted with shock and disbelief. How had a country with almost no football infrastructure or tradition, a high terror risk and searing summer temperatures of 50C beaten more established countries with stronger bids?
The story behind the Qatari success soon developed into one of the greatest sporting scandals of our time. Allegations of corruption were soon flying, and when the Sunday Times Insight team received a cache of hundreds of millions of documents from a whistleblower, the contents of the FIFA Files became a global sensation, unearthing the corruption that lay at the heart of the bidding process.
Now in this remarkable new book by the Sunday Times journalists at the heart of the investigation, Heidi Blake and Jonathan Calvert, comes the most comprehensive account yet of what happened and who was involved.
Above all, it explains why, despite all the evidence, FIFA under Sepp Blatter continues to support Qatar - even to the extent of publishing an edited and abbreviated report into the process that was immediately denounced by its original author. The Ugly Game is undoubtedly the biggest sporting story of the year.