Review of Ken Bensinger, Red Card

Document Type


Publication Date


Department 1



Near end time of the World Cup 2018 final, a mostly tantalizing match between France and Croatia, FOX Sports cut away from the pitch to an executive box. Gianni Infantino, the current International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) President, who was elected during a raucous 2016 session of the FIFA Congress, was signing a commemorative soccer ball. Vladimir Putin, adorned in a white shirt accented with a blazing red tie, sat contentedly next to Infantino. The next time the soccer ball (or a close facsimile) appeared was in Helsinki, Finland, when Putin, fresh off a propaganda coup after successfully hosting the World Cup, handed the ball to Donald Trump, who continued to fail at attempting to conduct political business on the world stage. "I'll give this ball to you and now the ball is in your court," said Putin, handing Trump the soccer ball. What Trump, Putin, Infantino, and soccer have to do with each other might not seem obvious; however, as Ken Bensinger, an investigative reporter for BuzzFeed, makes abundantly clear in Red Card: How the U.S. Blew the Whistle on the World's Biggest Sports Scandal, soccer has produced a staggering gallery of corrupt characters who would not feel out of place sharing expresso with members of the Gambino family, especially if they were meeting in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, which New Yorkers call "Little Odessa." [excerpt]