World Cup Tales: When The World Cup Legitimised A Dictatorship – Argentina, 1978

There have been, over the last eighty years or so, several questionable decisions made regarding the hosting of World Cup tournaments. None, however, have been met with quite the fury that met the hosting of the 1978 World Cup finals in Argentina. The decision made to award the 1978 finals to Argentina was made in July of 1966, but after a military coup in March 1976 left the country in the hands of a military dictatorship, there were calls for the tournament to be moved elsewhere in a clash of ideologies that pitted the liberal left of popular opinion in Western Europe against the more right-wing politics of FIFA. The previous few years had not been particularly kind to Argentinian football. Following the debacle of their defeat at Wembley in 1966 and, two years prior to that, their failed bid to host the 1970 tournament (ironically, primarily on account of concerns over altitude, they had the support of the Football Association), they had failed to qualify for the 1970 tournament altogether and four years later squeezed through the first group stage in West Germany at the expense of Italy, only to finish bottom in the second group stage of the tournament. The main prize, however, had already been won in the form of hosting the 1978 World Cup, although even this was thrown into turmoil after the events of...

Read More