United Passions: Fifa financed film that paints Sepp Blatter as a hero set to be released in US amid corruption allegations

The film, which has been largely financed by Fifa, includes Blatter predicting 'the whole machine's going to blow up'

Jack Shepherd
Tuesday 02 June 2015 17:28

"Everything I've done up until this point has been for the good of football," says Tim Roth in the trailer for United Passions.

Roth is, of course, playing “the trustworthy and wholly honest” Sepp Blatter in the 90 per cent Fifa financed film that tells the "heroic" tale of how “three deeply ethical men” created the World Cup - so its IMDB page reads.

Even though the film debuted at Cannes a year ago, on 5 June it will finally be released in US cinemas - just in time to take some of the heat off the $150m corruption scandal currently engulfing the organisation.

The trailer alone gives a sense of just how ironic the film is. Roth-as-Blatter says: “The whole machine’s going to blow up, and me with it,” while a woman later tells him: “You’ve been betrayed, you’re going to prison".

Fortunately for Blatter, the whole machine may have blown up and he may have been betrayed, but he is yet to have any allegation put against him and has managed to remain president of Fifa - for now.

Blatter won re-election amid the worst scandal to hit to football's governing body in its history

Elsewhere in the film, a fictionalised Blatter says to Fifa executives: “The slightest breach of ethics will be severely punished”.

The film then ends with Roth super-imposed onto genuine footage of Blatter lifting the World Cup with Nelson Mandela in 2004 after South Africa won the bid to host the 2010 tournament.

Of course it does.

Tim Roth, who plays Sepp Blatter

As you may have suspected, the film barely touches on any foul play by Fifa, with many accusing Blatter of financing the film as a ‘vanity project’. After all, it has been suggested he demanded changes to the script.

Even the star of the movie, Roth, was wary of the film. He told the Times: "I was like, 'Where's all the corruption in the script? Where is all the back-stabbing, the deals?’ So it was a tough one. I tried to slide in a sense of it, as much as I could get in there."

So, why was the film ever created? Primarily because Fifa was able to fund £16m of its £19m budget – the equivalent amount of money it put into its 'Goal' programme, which supposedly helps develop football in poorer nations.

Adidas have said that the corruption is creating a negative image for the game and Fifa

Perhaps the organisation foresaw the accusations of corruption would come to light and wanted to prove that it really is an honest company, founded on a passion for the sport?

Considering that the film has only taken a mere £125,000 at the box office so far, having gone straight to DVD in France, and already been shown on TV in Italy, there appears to be no financial incentive behind its release.

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