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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51 Responses so far.

  1. Sam Wren Sam Wren says:

    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 for its play and much was made of the poor (for him) play of Xavi. But in the final, the Xavi of old, the master of the field, was summoned when he was most needed. On the other hand, friendlies, since they do not count for anything except for pride and, maybe, the FIFA rankings, do not elicit the same adrenaline response that a knock-out game of a competition does. Against Portugal they pretty much started their normal starting formation if I remember correctly, but against Argentina it appears that Del Bosque was using some experimental formations with some of the non-starters, especially in the back line. Xavi was not started and Casillas was not in goal (Reina started and Valdez ended). This is the sort of thing that many on this blog have been clamoring for Tabarez to do: use the friendlies to use some of the newer talent such as Polenta, to name one, to see how they perform. We don’t necessarily want to lose friendlies, but I think most of us would be OK with losing if it would serve the more important function of identifying some solid replacements for the aging spine of the NT. Argentina, on the other hand, started with the big guns: Messi, Higuaín and Tevez, as well as their “normal” midfield and defensive line.

    On paper Spain is the best, but football is a game that takes place in space and time – not on paper – and is, thus, vulnerable to the capriciousness of daily life: adverse weather, crappy fields, what we Americans call player slumps (aka “poor form”), injury, key players may be ineligible due to red cards or yellow card accumulation, distractions, ad infinitum, so on any given day any team that is superior on paper can lose to a team that is inferior on paper, so I am not saying that Spain will certainly defeat Uruguay if they ever meet on the field. History is full of examples of “inferior” teams defeating “superior teams”.

    As for 2014, well, that is too far in the future for me to make any predictions with any degree of confidence. Apart from the Olympics, Tabarez has made no visible attempts to indicate that he has any plans to initiate replacements for the “over the hill gang”. As for Spain, they are in a similar situation with Xavi, Iniesta and Xabi Alonso (who was actually largely uncredited for his key performances in the earlier games of Euro 2012), but if what TBF says is true, they have available replacements for these players – whether or not the Spanish NT has plans in place to identify and incorporate those players I have no idea.

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