FIFA Film In The Works: Ben Affleck And Matt Damon To Produce

Martha Washington - Author
By

Jul. 15 2015, Updated 4:56 a.m. ET

As the biggest global sporting scandal of the year, Hollywood is preparing to make a FIFA film on the corruption at the heart of football’s governing body.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Warner Brothers are preparing a FIFA film because the studio has purchased the rights to the upcoming book, House of Deceit, by Ken Bensinger. The book is about the story of American FIFA executive Chuck Blazer and his corrupt activities in his position.

While the book will not be published until 2017, Warner Bros. won a strenuous bidding war for the filming rights.

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The studio designated the FIFA film to be produced by Ben Affleck, and Matt Damon’s production company, Pearl Street Films. It has also appointed Gavin O’Connor to be the film’s director. O’Connor has produced several sports films over 20 years of directing. These include Miracle, in 2004, and Warrior, a film about mixed martial arts, in 2011.

Deceit is an expansion of a 2014 article written by Bensinger for BuzzFeed News. Bensinger, who used to write for the Los Angeles Times, discussed how Blazer in his 17 years on FIFA’s executive committee helped transform soccer from a worldwide sport that was not actually making money to one that was. He also helped to popularize the sport in the United States, where it is now the second most played sport behind basketball.

But while Blazer helped to popularize the sport, he also took to FIFA’s corrupt culture like a fish in water. In 2013, Blazer pleaded guilty to charges including money laundering, racketeering, and tax evasion. Starting in 2011, he would become a whistleblower for the FBI in order to avoid facing additional charges that could have landed him in prison for decades.

Blazer’s whistleblowing helped the FBI arrest several other FIFA members in the 2015 FIFA corruption scandal, which has threatened to blow up the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, in particular. Bensinger noted that FIFA has become incredibly powerful under Blazer, comparing it to “the MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL into one organization.”

No casting decisions have been made at this point, but Bensinger did indicate that an actor like John Goodman would be a good choice to play Blazer. Gerard Butler and Zach Galifiankis have also been suggested.

While the film will not be ready for years, continued interest in the FIFA scandal will likely remain as trials are set. For example, FIFA president Sepp Blatter has begun to indicate that he may not resign after promising to do so when the FIFA scandal broke.

[Photo By Mark Wilson / Getty Images]

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