Stanley Rous's 'Own Goal': Football Politics, South Africa and the FIFA Presidency

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The election for the presidency of the Fdration Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) in 1974 which saw Joo Havelange replace Sir Stanley Rous as incumbent was one of the most significant events in FIFA's history. While the battle lines in the lead up to the vote reflected the broader caveats in FIFA politics at this time, South Africa's status within the world body and more specifically, the positions of both Havelange and Rous on this issue came to represent a central dynamic around which the election was fought. This article draws on primary source material to argue that Rous's support for a football association that applied the principles of Apartheid to the organisation of the game in South Africa coupled with Havelange's support for the anti-Apartheid lobby within FIFA was one of the most significant factors in determining the outcome of the vote.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-272
JournalSoccer & Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2008


  • FIFA: Stanley Rous
  • Joao Havelange
  • football politics
  • FIFA election 1974


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