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football and politics


1966
african boycott championships held in england

It was the only World Cup event boycotted by an entire continent. FIFA’s Byzantine rules effectively leave only one spot for three continents: Africa, Asia and Oceania. This affects 12 Asian and African countries trying to qualify. Ghana is the first sub-Saharan country to achieve independence and is also a football powerhouse in Africa.

At the time, “winds of change” were blowing through Africa as one country after another gained independence. FIFA and England are still dealing with South Africa’s apartheid regime, which has angered the rest of the continent. So, boycott.

Two years after the 1966 World Cup, American athletes Tommy Smith and John Carlos paid tribute to “black power” at the Olympics in arguably the most politically powerful gesture in sports history.

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