« The Jules Rimet Trophy »: this is how the first world football championships were baptized, in tribute to their inventor. Because it was a certain Jules Rimet who created, after years of relentlessness, the first international professional football competition that will become the unmissable global event that we know today.
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Who is Jules Rimet, the inventor of the Football World Cup?
At the beginning of the 20th century, the idea of creating a football competition on a global scale did not thrill anyone. At the time, the Olympic Games were THE international competition par excellence, and were played exclusively by amateurs. Not yet professionalized in most countries (including France), football is played as amateurs. But Jules Rimet, son of peasants who joined the capital following the Great Depression, was already dreaming of a cut between nations before the letter. A lawyer by training, he is passionate about football, of which he perceives the physical, educational and social benefits.
In 1897, at the age of 23, he created the RedStar, the legendary club of the capital based in Saint-Ouen, with his brother and a few friends. The sports club advocates humanist values, and wants to be open to the poorest. In 1904, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) was created in his law firm. It is then only a small organism. Supported by the British Football Federation (FA), he finally managed to impose the idea of a first international tournament at the 1908 Olympic Games. But they were played as amateurs, and the Union of French Athletic Sports Societies (USFSA ) was strongly opposed to the emergence of professionalism.
The First World War in which he fought as an infantry lieutenant, did not get the better of his dream. In 1919, he created the (now famous) French Football Federation (FFF) of which he became President, and would remain so for many years. Buoyed by the success of the 1924 and 1928 World Olympic Games, President Jules Rimet and his secretary Henri Delaunay proposed the organization of a World Cup under the auspices of FIFA at the 1928 Amsterdam Congress. later, the project is adopted. And the world’s first will see the light of day in 1930.
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Which countries took part in the first World Cup?
Uruguay is chosen as the host country of the « Jules Rimet Trophy ». Crowned Olympic champion twice in a row, the country celebrated that year, the centenary of its independence. Hence the name of the stadium « Centenario » (Centenary) built for the occasion, which will see Uruguay and Argentina compete in the final of the championship. But the choice of Uruguay is not unanimous among European countries, although the host offers to pay the transport costs of the participants. Some out of disdain, others discouraged by the length of the boat trip, which took several weeks.
Thus, if thirteen countries participate in this first edition, only 4 countries are European. There are: Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Uruguay, Paraguay, United States, France, Yugoslavia, Romania, and Belgium. As the kick-off was whistled on Sunday July 13, 1930, it was a Frenchman who scored the first goal under the eyes of 2,000 spectators during the match between France and Mexico. Uruguay will win against Argentina in the final. The competition is crowned with a double success: sporting and commercial.
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