Anti-corruption reporter Jennings dies

·2-min read

Andrew Jennings, a groundbreaking investigative journalist who exposed the darker corners of the Olympic movement and world soccer body FIFA has died. He was 78.

A post written on Monday on his official Twitter account said Jennings died on Saturday "after a brief, sudden illness". No more details were given.

Jennings pursued evidence and wrote books that rocked the reputation of international sports organisations and their leaders while pioneering the more intense scrutiny they would later face from the media.

His books, including The Lords of The Rings published in 1992 and Foul! in 2005, proved to be essential texts to better understand the politics and conduct around the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and FIFA.

He would typically be the reporter at their news conferences asking the most direct and provocative questions.

"If you had to put only one name to the revolution of the international sports debate over the past 30 years ... that name and that person would be Andrew Jennings," wrote Jens Sejer Andersen, director of the sports integrity campaign group Play The Game.

Jennings and his work proved to be a foundation on which American authorities built their sprawling investigation of international soccer officials.

The fallout forced then-FIFA president Sepp Blatter, a long-time Jennings target, out of office in 2015.

In June of 2015 Jennings called for then Football Federation Australia boss Frank Lowy to stand down in the wake of the government-funded $A46 million failed bid to host the 2022 World Cup.

"I think Frank Lowy should resign immediately, he's led Australian football into disaster," Jennings told the ABC.

Australia's Sydney 2000 Olympics bosses weren't to escape Jennings' reach unscathed either, with Kevin Gosper resigning from the IOC's ethics commission in relation to issues concerning the Salt Lake City bid to host the 2002 Winter Games.

Jennings, who was born in Scotland and grew up in London, also made investigative documentaries about FIFA for the BBC.

Those programs hastened the exit of Blatter's predecessor, Joao Havelange of Brazil, from his honorary titles at FIFA and the IOC.

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