Hums professor probes fairness of England’s 1966 World Cup victory

Latest research by Professor Alan Tomlinson, the University of Brighton’s Professor of Leisure Studies, suggests England’s 1966 World Cup victory received a helping hand from FIFA president Sir Stanley Rous.

The research has drawn upon previously unused materials in UEFA’s archives and  Rous’s private papers.

Soon after Sir Bobby Moore lifted the Jules Rimet cup, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) wrote to UEFA suggesting FIFA had appointed referees who might favour European teams.

The letter came from the CAF vice-president of the Confederation of African Football, Ydnekatchew Tessema from Ethiopia, one of the African nations which boycotted the Finals after Rous’s FIFA committee recommended the reinstatement of South Africa despite that country’s racial segregation and following FIFA’s refusal to grant Africa a single slot in the 1966 Finals.

Tessema questioned why all of England’s matches were played at Wembley and why England and West Germany were given European referees when they faced South American opposition in the quarter-finals.

Professor Tomlinson and his collaborator, Dr Simon Rofe, from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, published their research in the International History Review

Professor Tomlinson’s book on Rous, An Englishman Abroad: Stanley Rous and the Rise and Fall of English Football, is expected to be published next year.

He said: “Rous was a true internationalist who sincerely believed in the force of football and sport more generally to create positive inter-cultural relations in a volatile world. But in his dealings with emergent forces in a post-colonial world he found it difficult, indeed at times inappropriate, to discard the values of the benign imperialist.”

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