Los Angeles, USA
Sports scandals return to television with the second season of “El Presidente”, the Amazon Prime Video series that narrates the corruption in the world of football and this time focuses on João Havelange, the historic leader of FIFA, under the gaze of Oscar winner Armando Bó.
The Argentine director, producer and screenwriter, winner of the Oscar for the screenplay for “Birdman” (2014), premieres this Friday a new plot that portrays, from satire and comedy, the network of power, money and influence peddling that intoxicated international football for decades.
If the first season analyzed how corruption affected Chilean soccer, the second installment broadens the focus and offers a complete overview of the scandals around the world.
“It’s a relevant story because it’s not just about football, it’s a political series: About how a person manages to manipulate people for his mission and his ambition for power, no matter what dictatorship or murderer he is negotiating with“, responds in an interview with EFE the creator of the format.
At the center of the story is former FIFA president João Havelange (played by Albano Jerónimo), the unlikely Brazilian who seized power from the Europeans and held control of the sports organization for nearly three decades.
Bó has no hesitation in assuring that Havelange was a decisive figure in shaping the football industry as it is known today.
“He transformed the sport into a money-making machine,” he says. “He invented a way to negotiate television rights and knew how to make Latin American soccer more relevant than European soccer.”
Precisely, the series starts at the 1966 World Cup in England, when a Havelange who comes as a Brazilian leader feels ignored by his European counterparts and undertakes a sacrificed career to the top of power in FIFA.
Relying on the countries with less relevance on the game board, the man rose to the presidency in 1974 and held the post until 1998.
However, now retired He was charged with crimes that included arms and drug trafficking, tax evasion and bribery, among other accusations that ended up exploding in 2015, a year before his death, when the FIFA corruption plot (FIFA Gate) was revealed after the award of the Qatar World Cup.
“He was a kind of winner until at 100 years old he saw how everything fell apart. If he had died at 98 he would not have seen it, I think it’s funny,” says Bó.
Despite the thorny plot, whose premiere coincides with the celebration of a World Cup harshly criticized by human rights organizations, the filmmaker defends the satirical and light tone of the series -shot in English, Spanish and Portuguese– because “the world of football is a parody in itself”.
The sarcasm reaches such a point that the actor Andrés Parra, who in the first season gave life to the Chilean accused of corruption Sergio Jadue, is in charge of narrating the story of Havelange, his superior in the criminal network of football.
“I mean what is generated around him. I am a fanatic, but If you look at it from one side, how can it be that people feel so many things for 11 or 22 guys running after a ball? So nothing, I think there was no other possible tone,” concludes the Argentine.