On 30th July, it will 47 years to the day since Bobby Moore lifted the Jules Rimet Trophy, and exactly 83 years since it was presented to Uruguay, winners of the first World Cup in 1930. But who was the man behind the most famous trophy in football? Jerry Gardner reveals all.
After all the political high jinks, one can hardly imagine today’s World Cup Trophy being named after FIFA president Joseph Blatter, but things were different in the past. French lawyer Monsieur Jules Rimet became the third president of FIFA in 1921, and held the office until 1954. During his tenure, Rimet enthusiastically championed the idea of a Football World Cup. Then, as today, he saw how such tournaments could bring nations together, uniting them in a common interest. The first World Cup took place in 1930 in Uruguay, when the host nation lifted the FIFA World Cup Trophy. The World Cup differed significantly from the Olympic football tournament that predated it inasmuchas it was aimed fairly and squarely at professional football. Initially, the trophy was known as “Victory,” reflecting the statuette’s image of Nike, the ancient Greek Goddess of victory. It was not until 1946 that it took on its more famous name, celebrating both Rimet’s 25th anniversary as FIFA president and his pivotal role in setting up the competition.
The 1970 World Cup is remembered by many as the best World Cup ever, won by surely the greatest team ever. With a perfect record during that tournament, Brazil deservedly won the Jules Rimet for the third time, thus conferring upon them permanent possession.
This story has an unhappy ending, though. Sadly the Jules Rimet Trophy was stolen in 1983 and never recovered. A replica was made to replace the original, but that’s all it is: a replica. Yet whilst the original Jules Rimet Trophy does not live on, happily the legacy of Jules Rimet the man endures; and things are for the better that way round.
FIVE FUN FACTS
During the Second World War, the Italian VP of FIFA, Dr Ottorino Barassi, hid the trophy in a shoe box under his bed, to prevent the Germans from getting their hands on it.
Just five countries lifted the revered trophy: Brazil, England, Italy, Uruguay and West Germany.
The trophy was stolen prior to the 1966 World Cup tournament; luckily it was found by Pickles the dog in a hedge in South London.
Brazil is the only country to have contested every World Cup.
Uruguay won the first World Cup in 1930, when they hosted it, and again in 1950. Their jerseys have four “victory” stars, the extra two commemorating their triumphs in the 1924 and 1928 Olympics.
Extract from “The World’s 50 Greatest Sporting Trophies” by Jerry Gardner, just published, and available from www.publishpromote.com, cost €15 (about £13) including p&p.