world_cup_trophy

Replica of the Jules Rimet Trophy awarded to winners Uruguay in 1930.

The Jules Rimet Trophy, more popularly known as the World Cup trophy, was the original trophy awarded to the winner of the World Cup. The Jules Rimet trophy had an interesting history. During WWII the president of the FIGC hid the trophy in a shoebox under his bed in Rome. One of the most interesting episodes in the trophy’s history happened in England in March 1966, four months before the ’66 World Cup.

The trophy arrived in England in January 1966. Apart from a few select publicity events, the trophy was kept at the FA headquarters. In March 1966, a stamp company received approval to display the trophy at the Stampex exhibition, a stamp show held at Westminster Central Hall. When the exhibition opened on 19 March 1966, the trophy was a major attraction. The only condition that the FA had attached to the display was that the trophy had to be constantly under guard.

world_cup_trophy_stolen

The display case at the Stampex exhibition from which the World Cup trophy was stolen on 20 March 1966.

Despite the system of guard shifts that had been established, the trophy was discovered missing around noon on 20 March. Scotland Yard quickly took over the investigation, though they turned up few leads. Two days later, the FA chairman received an anonymous package that contained the removable top lining of the trophy and a note demanding a ransom of £15,000 for the trophy’s return. The note dictated that a ransom exchange would be set up through the use of secret codes placed in the newspaper personals.

pickles_world_cup_dog

Pickles, the dog who discovered the World Cup trophy under a hedge in London.

The FA chairman worked with Scotland Yard to set up a fake exchange, and on 24 March the ruse resulted in the capture of a petty criminal named Edward Betchley. Betchley claimed that he had no involvement with the trophy heist and that he had only been asked to serve as a middleman for the drop. His arrest did not lead to any further information, but in a strange twist, a dog named Pickles discovered the trophy wrapped in old newspaper, lying under a hedge in South East London. Pickles became a brief celebrity, but the crime has never been solved. England went on to win the 1966 World Cup, beating West Germany 4–2 in the final.