PETE SPENCER’S TOP 10 WORLD CUP MOMENTS HAS REACHED NUMBER 7…

INDIA50

BAREFOOT INDIA 1950

The first World Cup after the Second World War was disrupted by withdrawals with many nations still in poor shape. Three Asian countries withdrew leaving India as the sole entrant. The country had only just achieved independence from Britain and when they appeared at the London Olympics in 1948, many of the players played in bare feet. They performed admirably, but FIFA was having none of it and banned the practice.

India eventually withdrew from the tournament and the myth persisted it was because FIFA wouldn’t allow them to play barefoot. Time has expelled that myth and it would appear the Indian FA was concerned over travel costs and simply did not see the attraction of the World Cup over the Olympics. Leaving everyone with the impression FIFA had denied them their opportunity gave the authorities an opportunity to save face, but history would prove they had underestimated the power potential of the World Cup.

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2 comments

  1. Funnily enough, I’m just reading a book, ‘Stories from Indian Football’ by Jaydeep Basu. India still played barefoot at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, but following an embarrassing 10-1 defeat by Yugoslavia, it was realised by their FA that they needed to conform to the styles of other nations in order to begin to compete seriously. Another factor had been that even in the early years after the war, domestic games rarely lasted longer than an hour, pre-war they were of fifty minute duration.

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