2009. Russia and England are bidding to stage the 2018 World Cup. FIFA Secretary-General, François Picard, has been offered a small fortune that will enable him to retire in luxury if he secures the World Cup for Russia.
Picard works out that a no-hoper bid for the European football championships in 2016 will undermine England's World Cup bid, and supports it against a bid from his own country. But when the no-hoper bid proves more credible than anyone thought, Picard finds himself in a hole which gets ever bigger as he desperately tries to dig his way out.