Kubala didn't play against Turkey in a game to decide who qualified for the World Cup, due to a supposed statement from FIFA

Kubala didn't play against Turkey in a game to decide who qualified for the World Cup, due to a supposed statement from FIFA


Laszlo Kubala (Budapest, Hungary, 1927 - Barcelona 2002)


Switzerland 1954


Kubala didn't play the match that decided who qualified for the World Cup due to a supposed statement from FIFA, although it was later learned that the governing body were not the authors.

In the summer of 1950, the Spanish team played a warm-up match for the World Cup which would be held a few weeks later. Their rival on that occasion was Hungary, a team made up of football players from Eastern Europe, and who had a special talent, Laszlo Kubala. The spectacular game played by the Hungarian piqued the interest of FC Barcelona, and 24 hours later they announced his signing. A year later, whilst delighting the Camp Nou faithful, he obtained Spanish nationality, and began to be included in the call ups for La Roja.

In 1954, an unprecedented scandal broke out. Spain faced Turkey in the pre-qualifying round for the World Cup. Victory for Spain in the first match was cancelled out by a Turkish win in the return game. The winner would then be decided in a third match tie-break. On that day an inexplicable matter would occur, and one hour before the start of the game a ‘FIFA delegate’ appeared in the Spanish team’s dressing room with a telegram that reported a supposedly irregular situation.

It suggested that Spain would be disqualified if Kubala played in the match. The situation was surreal, as he'd played in Istanbul just three days earlier without any problems. In the end it was decided that Kubala, the star of the team, wouldn’t play, and the game ended in a 2-2 draw. Turkey then qualified thanks to the innocent hand of a boy who drew their name out of a hat, a practice that had been agreed upon beforehand in the event of a draw.

After a while, FIFA strongly denied being the author of the telegram, and explained that no member of the organisation had access to the dressing room. The situation led to the resignation of the governing body of the Spanish Football Federation, as well as the Spanish coach and FIFA's Spanish delegate.


Kubala continued to amaze the Camp Nou for many years. He became Barça’s idol of the decade, although his level of performance gradually diminished due to the various injuries he suffered. In 1961 he retired as a player, and a few months later he started a new stage at the Club as a coach, a role which lasted until 1963. Although he later returned for five months in 1980, Kubala stood out for his coaching of the Spanish national team, which lasted for 10 seasons.

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