The four magical days when Uruguay became FIFA Champions of the World. The first team to win three consecutive titles.

A few years ago, while in Montevideo, I bought a book that was made to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Uruguayan Football Association: “100 Años de Gloria: La Verdadera history del Futbol Uruguayo”/ “100 Years of Glory: The True History of Uruguayan Football”. The book itself has a wonderful collection of inside stories that narrate the history of club and international football played in Uruguay. Furthermore, it had been officially consented to by FIFA itself. This book contains a section that explores Uruguay’s standing as a 4x FIFA World Champion.

The main author of the book (Atilio Garrido) mentions the issue of some international fans forgetting this fact in his closing statement : “…we rescued, with official and convincing documents, something that until 1950 was accepted worldwide and that, little by little, started to fall into disuse. We Uruguayans are a bit at fault for not committing to spreading our feats and victories. Uruguay was the first nation to conquer four times the football World Championship organized by FIFA.” (Pg 269)

This issue has always meant a lot to me, especially when it’s contested by fans who just don’t know better. It shouldn’t be contested because it’s a fact. Two World Championships are not something that you easily let go of. Their importance is amplified by the fact that they are officially FIFA’s first authentic international tournaments played by the best professionals on earth (under the guise of “amateurs”), changing the world of football forever. These were massive tournaments. It’s even better for me because the team that I love the most was at the heart of this innovation.

I have uploaded (so you can verify it in PDF format) the two documents from this book that explore Uruguay’s standing as a four time FIFA World Champion. The first (Document 1.1 and 1.2) recounts the history these tournaments and provides official FIFA citations to support their claims. The second is an Official FIFA document from their 80th Anniversary Book (1984, available in many languages). This document further cements FIFA’s recognition that the 1924 and 1928 Olympic tournaments were and are equivalent to FIFA World Cup titles. I will be providing a brief (point form) summary and translation of each document while using some external sources. Any citation from the “100 Years of Glory” book. will be noted.

1. Document 1.1
2. Document 1.2
3. Official FIFA Document- 80th Anniversary 

No doubts exist, Uruguay are four time World Champions.

The History: Why not 1920 or the tournaments before?:
(From the book): In 1914 Jules Rimet (the third President of FIFA), declared that (quote): “Under the condition that the Olympic Football tournament be organized in agreement with FIFA rules, this competition will be recognized as a FIFA World Championship.”
– There was an attempt to have the first proper intercontinental tournament in 1920, but its authenticity was hurt by the fact that only amateur players could participate. At the time, professional footballers were the best players in the world.
– The 1920 Olympic Football final was never played when the Czechoslovakian team abandoned the field in protest during the first half vs. Belgium.

Page from the Official Book of FIFA made to commemorate their 80th anniversary (1984).

Colombes 1924: FIFA is finally responsible for organizing the entire tournament and finds a loophole

From “At the 1924 Congress, FIFA agreed to assume responsibility for the organization of the Olympic Football Tournament by ratifying the proposal that “on condition that the Olympic Football Tournament takes place in accordance with the Regulations of FIFA, the latter shall recognize this as a world football championship”. …”The South Americans (Uruguay in 1924) won 3-0 and were celebrated as World Champions in Montevideo.”
Citation: Document from 

– In 1924, the start of FIFA’s Professional Era, FIFA found a “loophole” in the rules in order to finally allow the best teams and professionals to participate. The players could play and technically be considered “amateurs” by the International Olympic Committee so long as their own county’s Football Association compensated them for the months of lost work. The majority of the world’s best teams accepted, giving birth to, at the time, the first authentic FIFA World football Championship ever played by the best players on the planet.

(From the book): “…In the “Official History of FIFA” published on their 80th anniversary in 1984,…On page 59, it is stated that “they (FIFA) elaborated on their founding statutes”, confirming that the 1924 and 1928 Olympic champions were to also be considered joint FIFA World Champions.

The book: 100 Years of Glory

The aftermath of Amsterdam 1928

(From the book): The article mentions that the following revisions to the FIFA Constitution stated that after the 1930 FIFA World Cup in Uruguay, no Olympic title was to be considered a World Championship anymore. This was proposed by FIFA President Jules Rimet himself.
(From the book): Football was not played during the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics because of the birth of the FIFA World Cup. Olympic football champions would no longer be considered FIFA World Champions. Football was allowed to return in the 1936 Olympics but it was to be organized by the IOC and supervised by FIFA.
(From the book): Immediately after the 1950 FIFA World Cup (in Brazil) FIFA held several meetings to revise their constitution. In the 1950 revision, it was stated that they recognized Uruguay as the first nation to ever become four Time FIFA World Champions.

*** 1950 World Cup Final: Between 5:48-5:54, Carlos Sole (Uruguay’s legendary football announcer) states “Uruguay, Champions for the 4th time”. It’s important to understand that this was not thrown in liberally. This was common knowledge because FIFA had made this clear from the outset.

Turns out the stars weren

Note: The Brazilian broadcast of the 1950 World Cup final also claims that Uruguay “have done it for the fourth time”. I know 100% that I have heard this but have been unable to find the link as of yet

So there you have it: Uruguay are four time FIFA World Champions.

I hope you enjoyed this story, and please direct anyone who says “prove it” to this article on La Celeste Blog. 🙂 These stories are the reason I watch football and why I love La Celeste so much. If you ever wondered why the 2012 Olympic tournament is so important to fans of Uruguayan football, I hope this article helped. In a way it was the true birth of the Sky Blue mystique on a worldwide level. Thank you all and we only have a little under a month to go!

Citation: -100 Años de Gloria: La Verdadera Historia del Futbol Uruguayo, El Pais S.A. y Tenfield S.A., Printed in Anselmo L. Morvillo S.A., ARGENTINA.

Written by: Alvaro Perez

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Sam Wren
I have to largely agree with TBF. Reality and fact support Spain as being the best national team in the world. Winning one major competition may be a fluke, but winning three in a row is quite emphatic. I cannot comment on the “future” Spanish National Team because I am not familiar with the younger players coming up. As for Spain losing badly during two friendlies, Spain has shown itself to be a “big game” team, much in the same way as Uruguay, but they also tend to win the less important games. During the last Euros, Spain was criticized… Read more »
“uruguay could go and injure one of the two, xavi or iniesta.. send him out, to never play football again 🙂 rum pa pa pum man-down, rihanna would say. save this idea for the world cup, “if it works, it is good”. uruguay are used to play man down, we did vs argentina. believe me it is better to play 10 vs 11 with no duo of iniesta and xavi around (leaving one out, annoys the other too), than playing 11 vs 11 facing both of them at the same time, they are unstoppable. la columna vertebral del equipo.” I… Read more »


BTW, there are no words to the Spanish national anthem. The “central” government of Madrid cannot get agreement from the autonomous regions like Catalunya, Paises Vascos, Galicia etc on the wording, so it continues to have no words.


Er, Nico:

The point is they’ve got ANOTHER amazing batch coming through. Spain will be finished without Xavi and Iniesta? You wish. Try to imagine Uruguay without Lugano or Suarez actually winning the whole thing – yet without Puyol or Villa, that’s what Spain did. They don’t pick a striker, yet their striker wins the golden boot anyway. It’s scary.

And surraco: yes, we DO ignore friendlies. BECAUSE THEY’RE JUST FRIENDLIES. Even England beat Spain in a friendly last November – yet are England even on the same planet as Spain? Obviously not.


Oh ok, I didn’t realize that in friendlies teams just allow themselves to be scored on.

I don’t buy that logic. Everyone here is very critical of Uruguay every time they perform badly in a friendly. Spain lost by 3 and 4 goals. Frankly, that’s embarrassing. Again, very few of their players have pace and they don’t create many chances. They are beatable.

tbf. i agree with you on many things, but i think barcelona is stronger than spain. they would beat spain. okay spain is a bit stronger in defence, sadly, football is about who scores MORE goals than the other. barcelona’s defence being more than pretty okay, and having dani alves and messi & alexis on the offense might be enough 🙂 you admire spain as much as i admire nacho my friend! and thats scary big, believe me 🙂 the sad thing is you sound serious about it! you talk about the upcoming spain generations as something the world should… Read more »

Should we just ignore Portugal beating Spain 4-0 or Argentina beating Spain 4-1 in friendlies? Obviously they have weak spots. Very few of their players have pace. They don’t create many chances. (The Italians had 2 injuries and then resigned halfway through the 2nd half. You think they were tired? Italy had MORE POSSESSION in the first half!) I stand by what I said. A team like Uruguay is used to counter-attacking and not having possession. We wouldn’t lose concentration so easily.

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