FIFA has gone all retrospective on us

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Peter Heid
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FIFA has gone all retrospective on us

Post by Peter Heid » Tue Jan 15, 2008 11:45 pm

This is from the following web-page (1 August 2002. Revised 23 October 2002, 28 January 2004 and 22 October 2004) of the ‘England Football Online’ site: ... atches.htm

“As the 20th Century drew to a close, the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS), a scholarly enterprise based in Germany, set about preparing and publishing a series of volumes covering country-by-country all the international matches played since the first in 1872. As part of that project, the IFFHS reached a consensus with FIFA, the game's supreme worldwide governing body, on the criteria for an official international match.
Application of the new official match criteria has resulted in FIFA's retroactive desanctification of four England matches which have long been recognised as official internationals. It has also led to FIFA's retroactive sanctification of one England match which has long been regarded as an unofficial international”.

Ultimately, page editor Peter Young is well and truly overcome with indignation:

“We say no to them; they may do as they will with their perverted and distorted version of history, but they should not and will not be allowed to tamper with our history”.

Keep taking the pills, Pete!

The downgraded matches are:

24 May 1923 Stockholm Sweden 1 England 3
26 Oct 1938 Highbury England 3 Rest of Europe 0
21 Oct 1953 Wembley England 4 Rest of Europe 4
23 Oct 1963 Wembley England 2 Rest of the World 1

The rehabilitated match is:

05 Apr 1902 Ibrox Scotland 1 England 1

Sure enough, the IFFHS’ official site’s listing of ‘Scotland: Full "A" internationals (1901-1910)’ at: ... 3e0f403901 includes this match.

At the risk of being labeled “perverted”, I would suggest that at least one good thing has come out of FIFA’s revisionism. Sandy Brown of Spurs scored a goal that earned Scotland a draw in that match. It turned out to be his only appearance for his country. Now he has (albeit posthumously) joined the ranks of officially recognised Scotland players.

I have not yet come across a listing of official Scotland matches, printed or online, that reflects this FIFA decision.

Now, I wonder if these International Federation of Football History & Statistics “perverts” could be persuaded to turn their lascivious gaze toward the King George V Silver Jubilee International of 21 August 1935 between full-strength Scotland and England teams?

Of course, if there was some prior agreement that the match would not be a “real” international (as seems to have happened with the World War II Scotland-England games) then it must remain unrecognised. However, if the sole reason for this game’s lack of recognition was the contemporary attitude that only British International Championship matches could be counted as official between the Home Nations, then this rationale was well and truly blown away on 14 February 1973 when England christened a refurbished Hampden by gubbing their hosts 5-0. As noted elsewhere on this site, the Wee Red Book held out for tradition by refusing to recognise a non-Home Championship match as official but “The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” seems to have been granted recognition by everyone else and his dog.

Now that FIFA has accepted the principle of retrospectively granting or withdrawing official recognition to international matches according to consistently-applied criteria, it seems reasonable to wonder whether the 1935 King George V Silver Jubilee International has any less claim than the game of 14 February 1973 to be recognised as an official Scotland match.

I intend to e-mail this organisation ( and enquire about the status of this match and I want to do so armed with as much data as possible.
Do you perhaps have any information about this game that might be relevant; particularly with regard to whether there was a formal agreement between the Scottish and English F.A.s to regard it not being a full international?

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Post by Townfan » Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:31 am

As far as I remember, Hampden was not refurbished in 1973. The match in question was a Centenary match. It was Willie Ormond's first game in charge, but with Tommy Docherty's team. Fortunately, results inproved a bit.

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Post by Sat31March1928 » Wed Jan 16, 2008 12:53 pm

I've put together the 'complete' list of Scotland games that are 'unofficial' with full line ups and scorers.


Results are here ... llres.html

The ones with a negative number are 'Unofficial'

If you click on a blue tick you can read the match report

e.g. ... 082101.htm

Tommy Walker would have become a 'record cap' holder ... eccap.html

My own view is that Wartime Internationals and games like the Jubilee International should count. All the contemporary reports covered them as 'proper games'.

More problematic are the games taken place 'on tour' where some count for the opposition as 'full games'.
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Post by Scottish » Wed Jan 16, 2008 6:12 pm

Sat31March1928 wrote:
My own view is that Wartime Internationals and games like the Jubilee International should count. All the contemporary reports covered them as 'proper games'.

More problematic are the games taken place 'on tour' where some count for the opposition as 'full games'.
I'd go along with that. I'd add the 'Victory' internationals at the end of both World Wars as well. Several other countries count wartime matches as official.

Regarding the 'downgrading' of England games I don't know about the Sweden match but I can understand them being annoyed about the others. They were for the 75th, 90th and 100th FA anniversaries and being against multi-national selects were arguably far harder matches than 'ordinary' matches. Their 1938 opponents included five players who had taken part in the World Cup Final just four months earlier, the 1953 game had guys like Ocwirk, Hannapi, Kubala, Boniperti & Nordahl and the 1963 team was arguably the strongest selection ever to take to the field. You're talking about a team in which Puskas came on as a second half sub for Eusebio! Yashin in goal, Schnellinger in defence, the Czech midfield of Pluskal, Popluhar, Masopust. Players like Kopa, Seeler, Di Stefano, Gento - oh, and a couple of youngsters by name of Baxter & Law.

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