EXCLUSIVE: Chernin Entertainment and 20th Century Fox are in talks to make a feature based on the soccer match fixing rings that have proven to be a global scourge for the world’s most popular sport. The film will be based on All The World Is Staged, an article by Brett Forrest published by ESPN Magazine last August. Deal includes life rights of Chris Eaton, a former police officer who helped uncover a huge scandal as the top enforcement agent of soccer’s governing body FIFA. David Ready from Chernin brought the project in for the Company. Gersh is representing Forrest and the rights for his article, and Duncan Brantley who is writing the script..
Fox is a major player in the sport–Rupert Murdoch made Fox Soccer Channel the most prolific broadcaster in America of Premier League and other professional soccer games.
The central figure in the ESPN article is Wilson Raj Perumal, who was caught in Finland and charged with match fixing. A subsequent investigation found that the fixes are going on just about anywhere organized soccer is played. Referees, players, even coaches are bribed. Many of them make so little money that the supplemental income dwarfs their onfield wages. While Eaton’s efforts were stymied by the sport’s governing bodies, Perumal’s own sloppiness caused his demise. Unsatisfied betting on rigged games he brokered, Perumal began betting on legitimate sporting events, and losing his shirt–$10 million in one three-month period. He pressed to recover his losing bets and the schemes were uncovered. Perumal spent a year in a Finnish prison, but was turned over to Hungary, one of a number of EU countries that want him to answer for match fixing. According to the magazine, his cooperation has made Perumal a marked man.