October 23, 2022
In 1930, FIFA held the inaugural soccer World Cup in Montevideo, Uruguay. Over the next century, the World Cup would eventually become one of the largest spectacles in the world. However, its kickoff event looked far from the global soccer extravaganza that attracts over three and half billion viewers today. In fact, the first World Cup may have never come to pass if the International Olympic Committee had voted to drop soccer from their 1932 schedule in Los Angeles. Here’s the humble story of the first World Cup that saw just 13 teams vie for what turned into the holy grail of soccer.
The Forming Of The FIFA World Cup
In the early 19th century soccer was a part of the Olympics but only as a demonstration sport. Clubs and teams cobbled together from various countries ran around the pitch like an intramural college team. It wasn’t until 1908 that it became a proper medal sport. Although even then, professionals weren’t allowed to compete.
FIFA, which was established in 1904, didn’t even recognize the Olympics as the “world football championship for amateurs” until 1914. By then FIFA understood the popularity of the global game and began planning their own championship outside the Olympics. Understanding that the best players fighting for national pride in the world's most popular game would have some appeal, FIFA Congress met in Amsterdam on May 28th 1928.