The classic accolade was replaced in 1974 and its story is a fascinating one – but what exactly happened to it?
Having been lofted high over the heads of legendary figures such as Bobby Moore and Pele among others, the Jules Rimet trophy occupies a special place in football’s unique mythos.
The first-ever World Cup, it was once the symbol of the highest-attainable glory in the sport. Nowadays, however, it is no longer in use, having been replaced by the current iconic FIFA World Cup trophy in 1974.
Nevertheless, the Jules Rimet trophy underwent a tumultuous existence and has even been a topic of a number of football documentaries.
So what happened to it? Goal brings you everything you need to know about the fate of the classic prize.
On this page
- What happened to the Jules Rimet trophy?
- Who found the Jules Rimet trophy?
- Who was Jules Rimet?
The Jules Rimet World Cup trophy was stolen ahead of the 1966 World Cup in England, prompting a major investivation.
It happened on March 20, 1966, while the prize was on public exhibition at Westminster Central Hall in London, four months ahead of the tournament was scheduled to kick off.
To the relief of FIFA and the Football Association, the trophy was located seven days after it was first reported missing.
Prior to that, a ransom note was received by FA chairman Joe Mears and it warned: “If I don’t hear from you by Thursday or Friday at the latest I assume it’s one for the POT.”
A ransom sum of £15,000 was demanded, but police managed to apprehend an individual by the name of Edward Betchley in a sting operation.
Betchley claimed to be nothing more than a go-between and was convicted for his part in the scheme, getting two years in prison.
It is not known exactly who was behind the theft of what was then the most sought-after commodity in football, but there have been plenty of rumours over the years.
Remarkably, in 1983, 17 years after it first went missing in England, the Jules Rimet trophy was stolen again.
The second theft occurred in Brazil and it has never been found since, disappearing into the ether of speculation and intrigue.
It was stolen from a display case in the headquarters of the Brazilian football association (CBF) in Rio de Janeiro.
There have been a number of hypotheses regarding the ultimate fate of the Jules Rimet trophy after it’s Brazilian disappearance, including the suggestion that it may have been sold to be melted down into gold bars.
However, since the trophy was not made of solid gold (it was made of gold-plated sterling silver) such an outcome is not likely.
When the Jules Rimet trophy was stolen for the first time in 1966, it was found by David Corbett and his dog Pickles.
Corbett was walking to a telephone box in order to phone his brother when Pickles began sniffing at a package wrapped in newspaper, which was propped against the wheel of a car.
“At the time the IRA (Irish Republican Army) were at large, so I personally thought it was a bomb. So I put it down. Picked it up, put it down again,” Corbett told FIFA.com.
“Then curiosity took hold. I tore a bit off the bottom and there was a plain disc. Then I tore around and there was Brazil, Germany, Uruguay.
“I ran back in and said to my wife: ‘I think I’ve found the World Cup!’”
Pickles – a mixed breed Collie, in case you’re wondering – earned something of a cult status among football fans and canine enthusiasts in England following the discovery.
“People remember the dog,” Pickles’ owner Corbett later admitted. “They don’t remember me!”
Of course, as mentioned, the trophy was never found after it was stolen the second time, but the mystery lingers in the minds of fans, particularly those in Brazil, who valued it as a symbol of their stature.
A replica was, however, presented to the CBF by FIFA not long after the theft, in 1984.
Jules Rimet was the third president of FIFA, who served in the position from 1921 until 1954 – a tenure of 33 years.
He is the longest-serving president in the organisation’s history and was 80 years of age when his time at the helm concluded.
Hailing from France, Rimet was one of the masterminds behind the World Cup and he helped get the initiative off the ground in 1930.
In 1946, in recognition of Rimet’s contribution to the establishment of the popular tournament, the World Cup trophy – originally named ‘Victory’ – was renamed in his honour.
Born in 1873, Rimet died in 1956 at the age of 83, just two years after he stood down as FIFA president.