Football Icon 5 : Jules Rimet
In what will likely be of the the more concise of our Football Icons Series , today we cast our focus upon the Founder of the Post-Modern World Championships , yet , whom personally , for an individual with such a Soccer Legacy , remains relatively anonymous to the Global Football Loving Clientele .
Born on October 18 , 1873 in in Theuley , Franche-Comte , France . Jules Rimet was the Son of a First Generation Immigrant , A Grocer . A Poor Family , they nevertheless encouraged their Son to , Reach For The Stars , and Jules , as a result , having set his Heart upon a Career , At The Bar , studied hard to be a Lawyer . At the age of 24 , Rimet Founded a Suburban Parisian Sports Club – Red Star Stant Oehe , a clue , perhaps in the Title . The Mission Statement of the Club was the antithesis of his contemporaries , to make Membership Universally Available , the inverse of , predominantly , Baron De Coubetin , whom espoused that the Olympics should be the preserve of , ” Gentlemen and Amateurs ..” Moreover , Rimet had noticed the spread of Association Football across Europe – from its beginnings in the English Public School System , then the Football League , and its success in the North and Midlands England . He specifically included it among Red Star’s Activities , in spite of the popular idea of the period that it was a game for Thugs , Professionals and Englishmen . From there , Jules Rimet became involved in the administration of the fledgling French Football League , and indeed , the embryonic attempt to form a World Governing Body , F.I.F.A. Mk#1 in 1904 , with the intention of initiating a World Competition . However , they allowed themselves to be sidetracked by allowing Football to be embraced within The Olympic Movement , which would ultimately prove an unhappy Union . Jules was also a Christian Activist whom founded a Democratic and Republican Publication ; Le Revue . The following year , The Revue merged with Le Sillon Magazine , named after it’s Founder , Marc Sillon , and thus , Rimet a Leader of the early Sillon , Movement ( The Furrow / The Path ) ; a School Of Thought , wishing to bring Catholicism more in line with The French Republic and Socialist Ideals . An alternative to Marxism , and other Anti-Clerical Labour Movements , if you will . It died out in the run up to the First World War .
The outbreak of World War One , during which Rimet won the Croix De Guerre as a French Officer , and its infamous instance of , Christmas Day Football in No-Man’s Land – Across The Barricades , merely accecerbated the clamour to create a Codified Game . Jules Rimet took over the Presidency of F.I.F.A. in 1921 , replacing Daniel Burley Woolfall . They allowed themselves , as I say , to be enveloped within the Greater Olympic Movement , and its exclusively Amateur Ethos , caused discrimination – England refused to participate , with Uruguay Triumphing , 3-0 in the final . The resultant bickering between the Amateur Faction , in addition to the British – English , Scottish and Welsh , whom resigned their membership , did not negate the general air of optimism at F.I.F.A. Indeed , they arranged a subsequent competition , to be held in Hungary , in 1928 . However , due to overly complicated qualification criteria , and problems with travel expenses , only 4 teams actually arrived in Hungary , and once more F.I.F.A. had taken a retograde step . In addition , and just to add to their problems , further disagreements with the International Olympic Committee regarding whom would control the Olympic Football Competition , came as the final straw for F.I.F.A.
The issue with the British had various sub-levels . The Anglo-French Historical Mutual Belligerence , foremostly , but also the innate British Mind-Set that all Foreign Football was disorganized , therefore weaker , therefore irrelevant . Nevertheless , the Governing Body pushed on , regardless . Furthermore , they announced another World Championships , this time in Uruguay , partly in order to Showcase South American Football – and thus vindicate the 1924 Competition , but also because the Uruguayan Government agreed to pay travel costs . Due to the 4 month window in travelling , playing the Competition and returning , Most European Federations Boycotted the Tournament , indeed , only Yugoslavia , Romania , Belgium and France participated . The Hosts were victorious , beating Argentina in the Final – causing Riots in both Countries . One significant aspect of 1930 was the initiation of a F.I.FA. Trophy , The World Cup . The design was a Pure Gold on a Blue Base of Ipsis Lazuli , depicting a Winged Goddess Nike – to symbolise Victory , 30cm in height and weighing 1.8 Kilos , by the French Sculptor Abel Laffleur .
By 1934 , with the Tournament back on European soil , Italy , F.I.F.A. decreed a Qualification Criteria for the inaugural time , as 32 Sides began , with 16 competing for the Trophy . Furthermore , as Italy beat Czechoslovakia in the Final , Mussolini hijacked the Tournament into a Showcase for The Fascists , and also 3 Argentinans with Dual Nationalities to play in the Italian Side . In addition , Hitler’s German Team made a Nazi Salute before their games , as Italy retain their Title . The break for the Second World War necessitated a 12 year absence of the F.I.F.A. World Cup , indeed , in an aside , whilst in the custody of Holder’s Italy , Ottorino Barassi , Italy’s Head of Federation , and Vice President of F.I.F.A. removed the Trophy from its official resting place in a Rome Bank , and retained it in a Shoe-Box underneath his bed , for the duration of the conflict , in order to prevent it falling into the hands of the Nazi’s .
The subsequent 12 year Sabbatical for the Competition would conclude with another South American Fiesta , this time Brazil , but also saw many , particularly European Nations , still raw from conflict , failed to complete qualification . Many Nations , The Poles for example , had their geographical boundaries utterly rewritten and in truth , Football was the last thing on their minds . Other European States abstained for similar reasoning . This time , England did participate , but surprisingly , Hungary – Runner’s Up in the last World Cup , Czechoslovakia and , more pointedly , Argentina , did not . The Competition itself , began with Brazil as favourites , and they did indeed make the Final , whereupon they met Uruguay , whom having won the Trophy in 1930 and 1934 , had not partaken since . In front of an incredible 203,000 spectators , Brazil took a 1-0 lead , and despite the Uruguayans being hardly able to get out of their half , they somehow grab two goals and hang on to achieve one of the biggest upsets in Football History to that point . A further aspect of the 1950 World Cup was , the Captain of the Uruguay Team lifting The Jules Rimet Trophy – the Sculpture having been named after the President of F.I.F.A. prior to the Tournament beginning .
The 5th World Cup Tournament was held in Switzerland in 1954 . The Competition Favourites were Hungary , The Magyars , as they were known . Italy , England , Brazil , Uruguay and France were among the Seeded Teams . West Germany – as they were now termed due to the construction of the Berlin Wall , were relatively un-fancied , indeed , thought to have but one outstanding player , Fritz Walter . Moreover the residual after effect of Nazism saw a sub-conscious , and conscious avoidance of any shows of Nationalist Zeal , the West Germans were viewed by most observers as , also rans . Yet in as amazing a World Cup story as any , they qualify to the Final , at the Wankdorf Stadium – Steady …. , in Bern , to face the Mighty Magyars , whom had already defeated them 3-8 in an earlier round . The Hungarians take the lead , only for West Germany to hit back with 2 goals , and a last minute equaliser is disallowed as The Germans are awarded the Jules Rimet Trophy . In Germany , the victory is known as , The Miracle Of Bern . Sadly , this would be Jules Rimet’s last World Cup , as in 1956 , at the age of 86 , he passed away in the French village of Suresnes . The Trophy , in line with his personal wishes , was awarded to Brazil in 1970 , upon their winning it for the third time . A new World Cup was created for the 1974 World Cup and remains the representation of World Champions of Football status to this day . In an aside , the Jules Rimet Trophy was stolen in Brazil in 1983 and has never been seen since .
In creating this Football Icon Series , one hoped not only to highlight Monoliths of the Game , what with the Title , they are more or less given , but where possible for the recipient to have had an effect , however minimal , upon the wider Community . The People . Well , in the case of Jules Rimet , that is an indisputable fact . A man , as I noted , largely anonymous to the Football Loving Public , but , as a Socialist , one whose vison was for men to meet , on the Football Pitch , with no pre-conditions or influences of Class or indeed Race , but rather in the pursuit of Sporting Excellence . Moreover , his Brain-Child , His Baby , the World Cup is now not only the premier Sports Competition Globally , but an Industry in itself . For a man whom never kicked a ball in anger , it is not a bad epitaph .
Jules Rimet , Je Salut …
Written in Britain .
Look after Your Peoples .
Peace Out .