Michael E. Miller of the Washington Post did a nice piece on Andrew Jennings, the 71-year-old English reporter who has been investigating Sepp Blatter and FIFA for years. Looks like Jennings is getting the last laugh.
If you can’t tell already, Jennings is an advocate of slow, methodical journalism. For half a century, the 71-year-old investigative reporter has been digging into complex, time consuming stories about organized crime. In the 1980s, it was bad cops, the Thai heroin trade and the Italian mob. In the ’90s, he turned to sports, exposing corruption with the International Olympic Committee.
For the past 15 years, Jennings has focused on the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), international soccer’s governing body. As other journalists were ball watching — reporting scorelines or writing player profiles — Jennings was digging into the dirty deals underpinning the world’s most popular game.
“Credit in this saga should go to the dogged obsession of a single reporter, Andrew Jennings,” the Guardian’s Simon Jenkins wrote last week, citing in particular Jennings’s BBC Panorama film called “The Beautiful Bung: Corruption and the World Cup.”
During a phone interview with The Washington Post Tuesday morning, he called FIFA President Sepp Blatter “a dead man walking.” Two hours later, Blatter announced he was stepping down, just days after being re-elected.
“I know that they are criminal scum, and I’ve known it for years,” he said. “And that is a thoughtful summation. That is not an insult. That is not throwing about wild words.”
“These scum have stolen the people’s sport. They’ve stolen it, the cynical thieving bastards,” he said. “So, yes, it’s nice to see the fear on their faces.”