Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Less Spinning, More Winning

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Less Spinning, More Winning

Article excerpt

Fifa, the world body of football, may the Lord preserve it, was created in 1904 by seven European countries where organised football had first flourished--France, Belgium, Denmark, Holland, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Notice one notable absence? Yup. No England. Or for that matter Scotland, where football had flourished long before it hit France et al. Nor Wales or Ireland. Up your bum, was roughly England's thinking. We began all this, who do you think you are?

In the 1920s, England played fast and loose for a while, leaving then joining Fifa, then leaving again. At the vital 1928 meeting, an FA member named Charles Sutcliffe stood up and spoke as follows: "I don't care a brass farthing about the improvement of the game in France, Belgium, Austria or Germany. The Fifa does not appeal to me. An organisation where such football associations as those of Uruguay and Paraguay, Brazil and Egypt, Bohemia and Pan Russia are co-equal with England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland seems to me to be a case of magnifying the midgets." Well said, sir; hear, hear.

The first World Cup went ahead in 1930, without England. Nor did they deign to join in the 1934 or 1938 World Cups. They did condescend to turn up in Brazil in 1950, where they were humiliated by the US. They claimed the Yanks had cheated, getting a couple of real professional players from Scotland to pretend to be Americans, which was a terrible fib.

And so a pattern established almost 100 years ago has continued. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.