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Former FIFA President Joao Havelange has made some quite sensational, and potentially damaging, allegations by claiming that the 1966 and 1974 World Cups were fixed so that England and Germany would win respectively.

The 1966 World Cup held in England has been the centre of a number of conspiracy theories over the years. These include England’s quarter final victory over Argentina when the hosts won 1-0 after the South Americans had seen their captain Antonio Rattin controversially handed a straight red card for arguing with the referee.

It has been claimed that there was a plot for England to win the World Cup, and the referee from this game was German, while the official in Germany’s quarter final win over Uruguay was English. The controversy continued in the final with Geoff Hurst’s famous ‘was it over the line?’ goal.

Joao Havelange, who was FIFA President from 1974 until 1998 is certain to have further fuelled these conspiracy theories by openly stating that the 1966 and ’74 World Cups were fixed.

"In the three matches that the Brazilian national team played in 1966, of the three referees and six linesmen, seven were British and two were Germans," Havelange told Folha de Sao Paulo.

"Brazil went out, Pele ‘exited’ through injury [following some rough defensive play], and England and Germany entered into the final, just as the Englishman Sir Stanley Rous, who was the President of FIFA at the time, had wanted.

"In Germany in 1974 the same thing happened. During the Brazil-Holland match, the referee was German, we lost 2-0 and Germany won the title," said Havelange.

"We were the best in the world, and had the same team that had won the World Cup in 1962 in Chile and 1970 in Mexico, but it was planned for the host countries to win.”

World Cup hosts have been at the centre of many conspiracy claims over the year. In 1978 Argentina needed to beat Copa America holders Peru by four clear goals to reach the final ahead of Brazil. They won 6-0 but their were dark rumours that Peru, who had an Argentine-born goalkeeper, had thrown the game. Meanwhile in 2002, minnows South Korea were at the centre of similar claims as they finished fourth after seeing a host of dubious decisions go their way in the victories over Italy and Spain.

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