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Jens Weinreich

We would like to introduce you to some of our authors and partners. Each of them is an expert in a particular field – and well known in that subject area and in the region where the authors are based, but certainly not by all members, readers and subscribers, of THE INQUISITOR.

Play the Game award 2011: Jens Weinreich, Andrew Jennings – pioneers of FIFA investigations.

Jens has now covered more sessions (more than 40) and much more meetings of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) than he has years of life behind him. And he is still fascinated by the horrors of global sports politics. His main working focus: Olympic crime, sports rogue states, mega-events (bids, finances), countering Olympic propaganda.

He has covered thirteen Olympic Games – and renounced other – and more than twenty other mega-events and the most important World Championships in Olympic sports (football, athletics, aquatics). Sometimes, therefore, he thinks he knows institutions like the IOC or FIFA and their leaders better than he knows himself. He has also covered all Olympic bid competitions since 1991, nationally and internationally.

He has more than thirty years of experience in all media genres. He has received numerous journalism awards for his work and investigations. For example, he has been awarded several times as Germany's Sports Journalist of the Year and Online Journalist of the Year (although he has not considered himself a sports journalist for a long time, but an analyst and political journalist with an investigative focus). In Germany, Jens has won the most important investigations awards: Nannen-Preis Investigation, for the DER SPIEGEL revelation on Germany's corrupted bid for the 2006 World Cup, and Wächterpreis.

Jens is particularly proud of two other awards:

  • In 2006, he was declared persona non grata by FIFA's Committee for Ethics and Fair Play, with Mohamed Bin Hammam from Qatar as a member: because his offences, investigating and bringing facts to light, were "comparable" to those of his fatherly friend Andrew Jennings and "the damage to FIFA’s image had been considerable". For Jens, this was the FIFA Literature Prize.
  • Five years later, Jens received the Play the Game Award, together with Andrew. According to the jury "they not only sought, but also found the documentation, and that is a great achievement which has been fundamental for the world public’s understanding of FIFA as it is today."

In 1998 already, Jens published an investigative book on the FIFA mafia. Based on this, he was instrumental in uncovering the gigantic ISL bribery system, one if not the biggest bribery scheme in Olympic history: at least CHF 142 million for leading officials in FIFA, the IOC, UEFA, CAF, FIBA, AIBA, IAAF and several more. There were several sports officials, not only from the football business, who spent a lot of money and expensive lawyers trying to keep Jens quiet and even destroy his livelihood. These people failed.

Without the work of the very small circle of early FIFA investigators, of which Jens was one (read more about those early years and the investigative network), the criminal trials against the FIFA mafia in the USA would never have happened.

IRS agent Steven Berryman, who played a major role in the investigations based on the RICO Act to combat organised crime, once put it this way:

"Much of this may never have come to light were it not for the tenacious and dedicated research and reporting over the decades of investigative journalists".

Jens has made a number of TV documentaries – on state doping, on Juan Antonio Samaranch sr, on Olympic crime and Olympic bids, and his favourite documentary on Sepp Blatter (The Untouchable), to whom he remains strangely warmly attached to this day. When it came to producing a proper magazine on the death of Andrew Jennings in 2022, Blatter was one of the first to agree to an obituary, even before many journalists.

Jens grew up in a divided country, behind a wall of barbed wire, enjoying the often dubious blessings of a socialist education and indoctrination system. So he learned a thing or two about ruptures and the downfall of a social order. And he has learned that nothing is as it seems – certainly not the enormous number of medals won by GDR athletes in all the arenas of the world: the first article Jens has ever published, still behind the Berlin Wall, was about the first coach of the then European women shot-put champion Heidi Krieger.

Heidi Krieger is now called Andreas Krieger. And Andreas donated his gold medal, won as the young Heidi, under the influence of a state manipulation and doping system, under the influence of masculinizing hormones, more than twenty years ago for a prize that was awarded to people who had rendered outstanding services in the real fight against doping.

All these East German experiences have decisively shaped Jens' understanding of journalism: as a journalist you have a duty, get your job done, no excuses, better no compromises, never being satisfied with a few quotations, but always trying everything to get hold of documents, open up sources and get closer to the core of the story.

In 2020, Jens published a document that he considers perhaps the most important paper he has ever been allowed to publish: The list of all transfers from the IOC to an Olympic Organising Committee (ROCOG, Rio 2016), which proves that only about half of the IOC payments are funds. Everything else is value-in-kind, which can be arbitrarily interpreted and its accounting is quite controversial. It is precisely such research that can best counter Olympic propaganda.

An IOC president, Jacques Rogge, once put it in writing to Jens that he was the "best documented Olympic journalist". You are welcome to test whether this is so in THE INQUISITOR, but remember: investigative research and knowledge acquisition are not a sprint, but a marathon - so give the project a little time.

A marathon ... this brings us to the episode that Craig Lord and Jens, partners in this project, have yet to finally research and clarify: Mr Lord claims to this day that in August 1991, on the sidelines of the European Swimming Championships in Athens, Jens ran a lap naked in the marble ancient Olympic stadium at night. Mr Weinreich has vehemently denied this accusation for years. The final chapter on that incident still needs to be told. Apart from that, Mr Weinreich has long since stopped running in stadiums and is enthusiastically riding his e-bike through Brandenburg's wonderful, largely lonely forests.

For THE INQUISITOR, Jens acts as as the founder of the company THE INQUISITOR and as an author, trying to keep the threads together and deliver a high-class team product. At the same time, he continues to work on his label SPORT & POLITICS, from which there are only synergies for THE INQUISITOR, and on research for the leading German news magazine DER SPIEGEL. So far Jens has published seven books and has been despairing of number eight for years, but hopes that it will be finished before he falls into his grave.

You may follow Jens on Twitter/X, subscribe his own Newsletter and check his websites SPORT & POLITICS and Detailed CV.