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mail: jan@planetworldcup.com

Background


"FIFA World Cup"
1974-2010
"Jules Rimet Cup"
1930-1970

 
 

 
 
 

 


 

      Even though FIFA was formed as early as 1904, it took them almost three decades to start a true international competition. The Olympic tournament had been the only tournament so far with world wide participation, but that was for amateurs only. However, more and more nations had adopted professionalism and "shamateurism" was creeping into the amateur game. This was apparent at the Paris Olympics in 1924, when the very "professional" Uruguay team became the first South American nation to win the title. 

      FIFA and the International Olympic Committee were at loggerheads over who should control the Olympic soccer tournament. FIFA announced they were the highest footballing authority and so should run a tournament claiming to be the biggest soccer event in the world. With many top nations withdrawing from the Olympics in 1928, among them Denmark and England, FIFA made a decision. They accepted the resolution of Henri Delaunay, secretary of the French FA since 1919 until his death in 1956, that a World Cup competition would be organized immediately. The acceptance of his proposal came two years after he had announced to the footballing authorities: "International football can no longer be held within the confines of the Olympics and many countries where professionalism is now recognized and organized cannot any longer be represented there by their best players." His resolution was passed by 25 votes to 5. 

      FIFA duly announced its plan to run its own competition, open to all affiliated countries. They did not immediately give name to the competition, but the world's press were quick to give it their own title. "World Cup", "World Soccer Championship" and "La Coupe de Monde" were favourite descriptions. Another was the "Jules Rimet Cup". Eventually that was how the World Cup officially became known, thus honouring the man who had done so much for FIFA in drumming up support amongst member nations. 

      By May 1929, FIFA still had not finalized plans for the first championship, although they had announced it would take place in 1930. The host nation had not been selected and as talks dragged on, it was apparent that finance was to be the biggest problem in running such a tournament, particularly if it was to be a true world championship. 

      Rodolfe Seeldrayers, the FIFA vice-president, proposed that the country give the honour of staging the first tournament should make funds available for (in the following order of priority) transport and accommodation expenses for referees, FIFA members and the teams. This was clearly going to be an expensive proposition for any national FA to undertake, but there were some willing takers. Holland, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Uruguay had all put their names forward, but Sweden and Holland soon withdrew and lent their support to Italy's claim. The South American nations stood by Uruguay, and the rest of the European candidates soon withdrew of various reasons. 

     So it was all left to Uruguay, the only remaining nominee. At last the dream was about to be realized, the date was set and the host country selected. It was a case of "Uruguay, here we come". 

THE TROPHIES

     The French sculptor Abel Lafleur was honoured to design the first World Cup trophy, the Jules Rimet Cup. It was a gold statuette weighing about 3,8 kilograms and was about 35 centimeters tall, representing an allegorical winged victory on an octagonal base. This famous trophy was first stolen at an exhibition in London prior to the 1966 World Cup, but it was found by a dog named Pickles under some bushes outside London shortly after. In 1930 they said the first nation to win it three times would keep it forever. When Brazil won their third title in Mexico 1970, they won permanent possesion of it. In 1983 it was stolen again, and to this day it has not been recovered. 

     The present trophy, the FIFA World Cup, weighs about 5 kilograms and is 36 centimeters tall. It was introduced to the 1974 World Cup and is made of solid gold and malachite. It is made by the Italian sculptor Silvio Gazzaniga. He described his creation thus: "The lines spring out from the base, rising in spirals, stretching out to receive the world. From the remarkable dynamic tensions of the compact body of the sculpture rise the figures of two athletes at the stirring moment of victory". 

      This trophy cannot be won outright as the regulations state that it shall remain FIFA's own possession. The World Cup winners retain it until the next tournament and are awarded a replica, gold-plated rather than solid gold.

 

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