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The first moving images documenting an official football match were taken in 1898 during a Blackburn Rovers game against West Bromwich. This first football film, preserved in the National Film and Television Archive of the British Film Institute, marks the beginning of the connection between football and film. In the meantime, this first tender connection has turned into a love affair. After the football film was at times traded as a box-office poison, one can now rightly claim that the football film is booming. And that has its reasons.

Football and film have a lot in common: Both last at least 90 minutes and offer pure drama, tragedy and comedy, great stories and small anecdotes, with heroes, villains, fallen angels and purified monsters, with beauties and beasts. The outcome of the drama is open. Anything can happen and that is why there is tension. Football and film are collective efforts, mostly only succeeding as teamwork. Both have movement as a central moment and both are capable of triggering strong emotions in the spectator.

So the football film has established itself as a genre of its own. The diversity of topics shows that the social phenomenon of football has now grown far beyond its historical dimension. The social and cultural background of the sport is shown, which can mean norm and rebellion, wealth and poverty, community spirit and fanaticism in different places at the same time. And good stories are now being told.

The story of the first football world championship, which took place in Uruguay in July 1930, is a story as yet untold as film. Three months before its opening, it was not yet foreseeable whether it would even take place. At the beginning of the tournament, games had to be played on alternative pitches because the newly built stadium was not yet finished. What followed was a furious tournament with triumphant victories and bitter defeats, celebrated heroes and tragic losses. In the end, a whole country went into ecstasy. The first World Cup went down in history as the Big Bang of football. The stories behind the story are at least as varied as those in a well-written film script.

Football and film, this is a love story full of passion and emotion. I look forward to retelling this story with colleagues from Argentina, Uruguay, England, USA, Brazil and France. In order to make the phenomenon of the first World Cup understandable, we will start from the historical beginnings and conditions and finally look ahead to our time. What has passed and what has remained of an event that is considered the Big Bang of what is now celebrated every four years as the world’s most successful event of humanity? That football is much more than just a game is the story of our film series to mark the 100th anniversary of the first football World Cup in 1930.

Matthias Aberle


James Brown
Vice President of the Society for American Soccer History (S.A.S.H), co-organizer of the 1930 World Cup Conferences and Events, historical football researcher and lecturer about the U.S. National Soccer Team and about his grandfather Jim Brown, who was on the 1930 U.S. Team that played in the first World Cup in 1930 in Uruguay at Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspurs.
Interview with James Brown.


Pierre Arrighi about his book release „36 Lies of Jules Rimet: Review of the influential book The Wonderful History of the World Championship“, which contains some explosives: Jules Rimet was FIFA President from 1921 to 1954. His book “The Wonderful History of the World Championship” is the basis for FIFA’s official history. “It is indeed an uninterrupted series of lies,” says Pierre Arrighi, a professor at the University of Amiens. The interview was conducted in French. Find translations in English, and in Spanish.