The story of the first World Cup in Uruguay in 1930
A documentary series in four parts (4x 30:00 min.)
There is no other event in the world that attracts as much attention as the World Cup. The popularity of this tournament, hosted by the FIFA, the World Soccer Association, attracts billions of spectators every four years. But what was it like in the beginning? How did this tournament come into being and who were the people who created it?
On the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the first World Cup in Uruguay in 1930, Wydoks Media is shooting a 4-part documentary series about the history of the first World Cup, which began curiously and ended furiously. Four filmmakers each recount in narrative form one part of the series about a myth that still persists today. The myth of the Football World Cup originated in South America, where the first part of the series begins. It’s the untold story about the secrets and hidden background of the first World Cup.
It is more than a hundred years ago since football came to South America. It started around the turn of the century. It came to the continent with seamen and merchants, but above all with immigrants from Europe. His cradle is located on the Rio de la Plata, which separates Argentina from Uruguay. There are the capitals of Buenos Aires and Montevideo, which were centers of European emigration at the end of the 19th century.
In the twenties, football was established in all social groups. Its popularity grew steadily. Football pitches were laid in urban areas, a network of clubs with a solid followers had formed, the quality of the game increased. These happenings went unnoticed by the world public, South American football was not yet noticed outside the continent. That all changed in 1924 with Uruguay’s participation in the Olympic Games in Paris. The Olympic football tournament, established in 1912, was the most important competition in world football. Uruguay won the gold medal and repeated this success at the Olympic Games in Amsterdam in 1928. Europe’s interest in South American football was more than aroused.
Uruguay’s impressive performances were one of the reasons why the first World Cup was later awarded to Uruguay. It was agreed at the Olympic Games in 1928 and decided at a FIFA Congress in Barcelona in 1929. It was scheduled to take place in Montevideo just one year later.
When the Fifa Congress of Barcelona in 1929 made the decision to organize the first Football World Cup in Uruguay, the country had barely a year of preparation time left. In Montevideo the Estadio Centenario, once the largest football stadium in the world, was built in just nine months. Construction was carried out in three shifts, day and night. But an unusually long rainy season delayed the construction work several times and by the time the tournament opened, the stadium had not yet been completed.
Originally all matches of the tournament should take place there, but due to the delay the first matches had to be moved to other, much smaller stadiums. Five days after the start of the World Cup, the stadium was finally opened. Days later host Uruguay became world champions at the stadium. It was like a fairy tale that established the myth of the Centenario, which is still the location for the Uruguayan national team and the big derbies between Nacional and Peñarol. When the Uruguayan team plays at the Centenario, the whole city will be on its feet. It’s so loud in the stadium that you cannot understand your own words. Despite its size, the stadium is very narrow, with spectators standing close behind the goals and on the sidelines. Uruguay’s team is driven by this atmosphere. It’s not pleasant for any opponent, and it upsets even stronger teams.
The stadium has retained much of the charm of those bygone days. Every stone here breathes history. This is the story of the planning and construction of a stadium in unprecedented record time and the description of a phenomenon.
The official historiography says that Jules Rimet – FIFA President from 1921 to 1954 – invented the World Cup. But source documents show a different picture. According to it, the first World Cup is not thanks to Frenchman Jules Rimet, but is due to the Uruguayan Enrique Buero.
At the Olympic Games in Paris in 1924 and in Amsterdam in 1928, the Uruguayan team won the gold medals. Head of the Uruguayan Olympic delegation was the Uruguayan diplomat Dr. Enrique Buero. At the 1928 Olympic Games Buero met Jules Rimet. He drew Rimet’s attention to the enormous economic revenues that flowed entirely to the Olympic Committee, even though FIFA organized the tournaments autonomously. This money could also flow into the FIFA coffers if FIFA were to organize its own football tournament. Enrique Buero and Jules Rimet became good friends and Buero was elected FIFA Vice-President.
In 1929, the FIFA Congress in Barcelona decided to hold the first World Cup in Uruguay. Short time after Enrique Buero was appointed Uruguayan diplomat in Belgium. Jules Rimet therefore took over the organization of the first world tournament. Three months before the start of the World Cup, however, no European country had yet agreed to participate. A disaster was imminent. Enrique Buero took over the organization again. He used diplomatic channels to get the approval of four European associations: Belgium, Romania, Yugoslavia and France.
In 1930 Enrique Buero was surprisingly elected as a judge at the International Court of Justice in Den Haag and had to cancel his trip to the first World Cup, for which he had fought long and successfully. Jules Rimet was pushed into the foreground again, Enrique Buero fell into oblivion. In his book “Histoire Merveilleuse de la Coupe du Monde” from 1954, Jules Rimet did not mention the merits of Buero at all. That the first World Cup would not have been possible without Uruguayan Enrique Buero is the story of the third part of the documentary series, which puts important historical facts right.
2020 is 90 years since the first Football World Cup was held in Uruguay. On this occasion, a „World Football Conference“ will be held at the venue of the first World Cup, in Montevideo. The conference is organized by James Brown, US football historian and Vice President of the S.A.S.H. (Society for American Soccer History). James Brown is grandson of Jim Brown, a participant in the first World Cup in Uruguay in 1930. As a player of the US team, Jim Brown scored the only American goal in the semi-final against Argentina.
The „World Football Conference“ is dedicated to three thematic areas: „Official history versus unofficial history of the first World Cup“, „Where does the World Cup 2030 belong“ (official presentations of the applicants) and „Football and commerce“. These are the topics of the documentary series, which in part 4 summarizes an „all around“ the football conference in a narrative way.
In addition to the symposia featuring historians and experts on world football, the conference also offers an extensive supporting program with top-class football matches and cultural events, such as a re-match between the USA and Paraguay, a match between the U23 teams of Uruguay and Argentina, an exhibition with items on loan from around the world, as well as gala dinners and concerts. Besides historians, journalists and professionals from the world of football, many celebrities from the worlds of sport, culture and politics are expected.
The fourth part of the documentary film series recounts the preparations for and the course of the football conference in chronological order. The film focuses on James Brown and the participants and guests of the football conference in Montevideo.
Originally, the conference was to take place in Montevideo from 13th to 30th July 2020. Due to the Corona crisis it is postponed to April 2021.