There have been plenty of examples of corruption in American sports over the last century. From the Chicago White Sox throwing the 1919 World Series to the debacle at the 1994 Winter Olympics between Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan to elite cyclist Lance Armstrong using performance-enhancing drugs to win races, sports fans across the U.S. are used to their athletes cheating at epic levels.
What most Americans, however, are less familiar with are sports scandals based outside the country, which are sometimes just as compelling. In El Presidente, a new Latin American dramatic series that is now streaming in both Spanish and English on Amazon Prime Video, creator and Oscar-winning screenwriter Armando Bo (Birdman) tells the story of the 2015 FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) corruption case (“FIFA Gate”) in which 14 individuals were indicted on allegations of racketeering, money laundering and wire fraud.
At the center of the scandal and the series is Sergio Jadue (played by Colombian actor Andres Parra), the then-president of ANFP (National Association of Professional Football of Chile) and a then-vice president of CONMEBOL (South American Football Confederation). In May 2015, Jadue was arrested for colluding with officials from CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football) and sports marketing executives to try to land lucrative media and marketing rights for high-profile tournaments.
In the end, Jadue plead guilty to racketeering and wire fraud and agreed to forfeit the money he made during the scheme. Along with Jadue, some of the other individuals who took part in the corruption and were convicted include Jeffrey Webb, former FIFA vice president and executive committee member; Luis Bedoya, FIFA executive committee member, vice president of CONMEBOL and president of the Federación Colombiana de Fútbol; and Alejandro Burzaco, former general manager and chairman of the board of Argentinian sports marketing company known as Torneos y Competencias S.A.
As the trailer for El Presidente says, success in the world of soccer is measured in how much “power and cash” one can attain. For a time being, Jadue seemed to be the most “successful” man in the sport.
To commemorate the English premiere of El Presidente on Prime Video, we partnered with sports illustrator Cesar Moreno (@pinchemoreno) to create a series of sports cards, inspired by the iconic Panini series. Based on player’s trading cards, each custom illustrated card in the Corruption Starter Pack focuses on the real players (the executives) behind he FIFA scandal, showing how deep the paper trail goes. Check them all out here.