Football was born in British public schools toward the end of the 19th century. To organize and develop football training and the sport itself, national bodies were created all across Europe, united under the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, or FIFA, in 1904. In a peaceful, internationalist context, the organization was born from the need to bring order to football and develop it as a sport, namely by organizing an international championship.
To enable competitions requiring the players’ presence over several weeks, usually abroad, the sport went professional in the mid-1920s in Europe, followed by South America in 1930. Faced with the intransigence of the leaders of the International Olympic Committee who promoted amateurism in sport, FIFA created its own tournament that would ensure the organization’s financial health over the years, spaced out between two Olympics. Henri Delaunay (1883-1955), then the first Secretary General of the French Football Federation, offered to organize a competition in 1930 that would be open to the teams representing all of the affiliated national associations. The FIFA conference that met in Barcelona in 1929 assigned the Uruguayan federation the responsibility for organizing the first World Cup, because of the development of the sport in South America in general and Uruguay in particular, thanks to the country’s fantastic results in the last Olympics and to celebrate the centenary of Uruguay’s independence. Uruguay also agreed to cover the teams’ expenses and to build a new stadium, the Centenario, in a difficult global economic climate caused by the crash of 1929.
This official poster for the opening match of the 1930 World Cup, which saw the French and Mexican football teams face off (4-1) on 13 July at Estadio Pocitos in Montevideo, Uruguay, was designed by Guillermo Laborde (1886-1940), an Uruguayan painter, sculptor and draughtsman.