FIFA was founded on the 21st of May 1904 in Paris, France – to oversee international competitions among the national associations of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
FIFA president Jules Rimet’s dream of organizing an international football world championship — a standalone competition for men’s national association soccer teams — was realized when Uruguay hosted and won the inaugural World Cup tournament in 1930. But international football was already 60 years old by 1930, and there had been several previous competitions, won by several previous champions. We look at football under FIFA’s earliest supervisions and its first Champions.
The 1920 Olympic football competition was the first to be designated by the then FIFA president Jules Rimet as a FIFA world championship. It took place in Antwerp, and was won by hosts Belgium, who can lay a reasonable claim to being the first FIFA world champions.
The 1920 final ended in bizarre circumstances. After English referee John Lewis awarded Belgium an early penalty — which was scored — then allowed a disputed second Belgian goal, and then sent off Czechoslovakia defender Karel Steiner, the Czech players walked off the field in protest.
The match was abandoned after 39 minutes and with Belgium winning 2–0, and the game and the gold medals were awarded to Belgium. The Belgians did travel to Uruguay in 1930 for the first World Cup, but they lost both group stage matches and were eliminated.
1924 & 1928: Uruguay
The 1924 Olympic football competition in Paris and the 1928 competition in Amsterdam — both organized by FIFA — were the most comprehensive football tournaments that had ever been played in the era before the creation of the World Cup.
Uruguay won Olympic tournaments, staking an unrivaled claim as football world champions, and securing the right to host the first World Cup. Uruguay beat Switzerland 3–0 in the 1924 Olympic final, and then beat Argentina 2–1, in a replay after a 1–1 draw, in 1928.
Captain Jose Nasazzi led his team to victory at both Olympics, and then at the World Cup. As the 1924 and 1928 Olympic football tournaments were both considered official FIFA world championships, the Uruguay team is entitled to display four stars next to the crest on their jerseys to commemorate four world championships — in 1924, 1928, 1930 and 1950.
In the years before 1920, England, Scotland, Denmark, Great Britain and Canada all won competions not overseen by FIFA – but Uruguay is the one country that can lay substantive claim to being football’s earliest Hegemon.
Source: Nana Kweku Bosomtwi
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