Copa Rio (international tournament)

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Copa Rio
Taça Rio.jpg
Founded 1951
Region Europe
South America
Most successful club(s) Brazil Palmeiras (1)
Brazil Fluminense (1)

The Copa Rio (Rio Cup) was the first intercontinental soccer club tournament. Brazilian press, at the time, dubbed it as "club world cup", a title that would later be applied to the Toyota Cup. Copa Rio presented a format resembling the one adopted by FIFA in the very first edition of FIFA Club World Cup held in 2000.

The two editions of Copa Rio took place in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil and were organized by the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBD), and endorsed by FIFA. The competition was originally planned to be held every two years, therefore the second edition should have been staged in 1953. However, it was moved forward to 1952 due to a request of Fluminense, which coorganized the 1952 edition along with the CBD as part of that club's 50th Anniversary celebrations.

In 1951, Palmeiras, from Brazil, was the winner of the tournament, while Fluminense, also from Brazil and coorganizer of the 1952 event, won this title in 1952.

The competition was succeeded by another tournament, named Torneio Octogonal Rivadavia Corrêa Meyer, which was won by Vasco da Gama, of Brazil. This tournament which succeeded Copa Rio had a different composition, with the predominance of Brazilian teams (five Brazilian sides, and three foreign clubs),[1] thus, losing part of its intercontinental aspect. In December 2007, in a negative response to a Palmeiras' request, FIFA decided that the first World Club Cup was played in 2000, thus not recognizing Copa Rio as an official FIFA competition.[2]

In Brazil, the competition was truly regarded as a Club World Cup, and the participating Brazilian teams (Vasco da Gama, Palmeiras, Corinthians, Fluminense) entitled to it a level of importance they would later entitle only to major football trophies such as the Brazilian League, the Copa Libertadores, the Intercontinental Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup. In Brazil, the Copa Rio was regarded as more important than the Venezuelan contemporary international competition, the Pequena Taça do Mundo. While in 1951 Vasco da Gama cancelled a trip to Europe in order to play the Copa Rio, in 1953 Vasco da Gama declined the invitation to play the "Pequeña Copa de Mundo 1953", which was eventually played and won by Corinthians (which was invited to the Venezuelan competition only after Vasco declined to participate in it).

According to contemporary Brazilian newspapers "O Estado de São Paulo" and "Jornal do Brasil" and Spanish newspaper "El Mundo Deportivo", the original idea was to invite the champion clubs from Rio de Janeiro State League, São Paulo State League (back then there was no National League in Brazil, and São paulo and Rio de Janeiro were, and still are, the country's strongest soccer powerhouses), Portugal (due to historical bonds of affection between Brazil and Portugal. Portugal was invited to the 1950 World Cup to replace other selections, but ended up declining because of the cost of the trip to Brazil, which has also led other teams to refuse the invitation to the 1950 World Cup[3]), Uruguay, Italy, Sweden, Spain and England (the countries which had ranked top in the FIFA World Cup 1950, held in Brazil). According to the original plan, countries such as France, Argentina, USSR, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and West Germany (which were then regarded as important soccer powerhouses) were not to be invited as they did not participate in the FIFA World Cup 1950. However, the French side Nice ended up being accepted at the competition following the organisers's failure to bring a Spanish side to it. Also due to the failure in bringing teams from England and Sweden, the competition organisers ended up accepting as substitutes clubs from Austria (back then the biggest winning country at the Mitropa Cup) and Yugoslavia (which followed the top rank of the FIFA World Cup 1950). In 1952, the Brazilian Football Confederation invited teams from Argentina and West Germany, which were not invited for the 1951 edition of the tournament.

Some clubs were invited to the competition and decided not to participate:

In 1951: AC Milan (Italy), FC Barcelona (Spain), Atletico de Madrid (Spain), Tottenham Hotspur (England) and Newcastle United (England).

In 1952: Juventus (Italy), Internazionale (Italy), Millonarios (Colombia), Hibernian (Scotland), Newcastle United (England), Barcelona (Spain), Real Madrid (Spain) and Nice (France).

This apparently is due to the concurrence of the Latin Cup on dates nearby, as in 1951 AC Milan and Atletico de Madrid played the Latin Cup, having Milan stated to the Brazilian FA that its withdrawal from the 1951 Copa Rio was due to the Latin Cup, wheres Nice withdrew from the Latin Cup 1951 in order to play the Copa Rio 1951; whereas in 1952 Barcelona, Nice and Juventus played the Latin Cup, having Juventus stated to the Brazilian FA that its withdrawal from the 1952 Copa Rio was due to the Latin Cup. As for the Real Madrid invitation in 1952, the Spanish club negotiated both with the Brazilian FA and with the Venezuelan FA, and ended up playing the Venezuelan competition called "Pequeña Copa del Mundo", staged simultaneously to Copa Rio 1952. Millonarios (Colombia) declined the invitation in 1952 on grounds that the club was committed to participating at the "Pequeña Copa del Mundo". Internazionale (Italy) declined on grounds that the club's Directing Board felt that the team was not "leveled up to such competition" following a crashing defeat to minor Italian side Pro-Patria. As for the British declinations (Tottenham Hotspurs and Newcastle in 1951, Newcastle and Hibernian in 1952), there is no source providing an explanation to that, but the sheer indifference of the British to the Intercontinental Cup (shown in the 1970s) suggest that their non-participation in Copa Rio may most probably have derived simply from sheer indifference on their part to intercontinental club competitions or in the case of Tottenham Hotspurs, perhaps by financial problems, which ended up canceling his escursao in Argentina in April 1, 1951.

Some clubs accepted the invitation to participante but weren't able to do so, while other clubs requested participation and were denied. In 1951 Mexican club Atlas requested participation and was denied, while the Indian Football Association requested the participation of a national club and was also denied. In 1952 the Argentinian FA denied authorization for its national champion (Racing Avellaneda) to participate, while Nuremberg (West Germany) was prevented from participating in 1952 due to a West Germany 1950-1952 Federal Law prohibiting national clubs from participating in tournaments abroad (FC Saarbrücken took its berth, since that Law did not apply to clubs from the Saarland Protectorate due to political reasons). In 1952, Dinamo Zagreb (then Yugoslavia, presently Croatia) requested participation and was denied. Also in 1952, Uruguayan Peñarol withdrew from the competition in its semi-final, having a W.O. in the second semi-final leg match against Corinthians, alleging "lack of security" after their first semi-final leg match ended in a bad brawl.

Apparently due to the difficulties in bringing European sides to compete in Brazil (as stated on "Estado de São Paulo" newspaper articles from 1952 June 25 through 29th), the CBD (Brazilian Football Confederation) decided that in 1953 its intercontinental competition should have not 2 Brazilian sides and 6 foreign sides, but 4 Brazilian sides and 4 foreign sides. The schedule of the 1953 competition was formed in this exact manner; however, the Uruguayan Football Association prohibited Club Nacional de Montevideo from participating on the verge of the start of the competition, and this club was replaced by Brazilian side Fluminense, as there was not enough time to search for a foreign substitute, thus the competition ended up including 5 Brazilian sides (instead of 4) and 3 foreign sides (instead of 4). The 1953 competition also saw some clubs being invited and declining to participate, while two clubs were invited, accepted to participate but then were uninvited by the Brazilian Football Confederation: West German side Rot Weiss (from Essen) and Partisan (from Belgrade, Serbia, then Yugoslavia). In the case of Rot Weiss Essen, its invitation followed its wininning of the German Cup, and its uninvitation followed a 4 X 0 defeat it suffered (in a friendly match in its home town of Essen) to the Rio de Janeiro's club America FC (not seen as a top Rio de Janeiro club), which made the Brazilian FA doubt the technical strength of the German club and then uninvite it. Due to this uninvitaton, the German club sued the Brazilian FA for financial compensation, taking the case to FIFA (the result of the Rot Weiss's demand at FIFA is unknown). Despite the different name and the different foreign/Brazilian ratio of teams, some 1953 sources (1953 editions of both São Paulo newspaper O Estado de São Paulo and Barcelona newspaper El Mundo Deportivo) referred to the 1953 tournament as the same tournament of 1951-1952, while other sources (RSSSF and 1953 editions of Rio de Janeiro newspaper Jornal do Brasil) treated the 1953 tournament as being a successor to the 1952 tournament.[4]

It has been proven that FIFA officials Stanley Rous and Ottorino Barassi have participated in the organisation of the competition in 1951, Stanley Rous mainly as far as the negotiations with European clubs are concerned, whereas Barassi not only did that but also helped delineate the framework of the competition. It is also a proven fact that Ottorino Barassi participated in the organisation of the competition in 1952, though in the 1952 case the evidence exists that he did it through telephone contact, there not being evidence that he came to Brazil personally in 1952, while in the 1951 case the evidence proves that he travelled several times to Brazil to deal with the Brazilian FA and that he was in Brazil during the competition.[4]

The Italian press regarded the competition as an "impressive project" that "was greeted so enthusiastically by FIFA officialls Stanley Rous and Jules Rimet to the extent of almost giving it an official FIFA stamp".[5] and as a competition that inspired the creation of the European Champions Cup from which it derives Intercontinental Cup.[6] Commenting the 1951 Juventus' acceptance to participate in the tournament, the Italian press stated that "a Italian club could not be missing in such an important and worldwide-reaching event".[7]

1951 Copa Rio[edit]

Teams[edit]

Rio de Janeiro Group[edit]

All matches played at Estádio do Maracanã.

Teams GP W D L GF GA GD Points
Brazil Vasco da Gama 3 3 0 0 12 3 9 6
Austria Austria Wien 3 2 0 1 7 6 1 4
Uruguay Nacional 3 1 0 2 4 8 -4 2
Portugal Sporting CP 3 0 0 3 4 10 -6 0
  • June 30: Austria Wien 4−0 Nacional
  • July 1: Vasco da Gama 5−1 Sporting CP
  • July 3: Nacional 3−2 Sporting CP
  • July 5: Vasco da Gama 5−1 Austria Wien
  • July 7: Sporting CP 1−2 Austria Wien
  • July 8: Vasco da Gama 2−1 Nacional

São Paulo Group[edit]

All matches played at Estádio do Pacaembu.

Teams GP W D L GF GA GD Points
Italy Juventus 3 3 0 0 10 4 6 6
Brazil Palmeiras 3 2 0 1 5 5 0 4
France OGC Nice 3 1 0 2 4 7 -3 2
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Red Star 3 0 0 3 4 7 -3 0
  • June 30: Palmeiras 3−0 OGC Nice
  • July 1: Juventus 3−2 Red Star
  • July 3: OGC Nice 2−3 Juventus
  • July 5: Palmeiras 2−1 Red Star
  • July 7: Red Star 1−2 OGC Nice
  • July 8: Palmeiras 0−4 Juventus

Semi-finals[edit]

São Paulo

  • July 12: Austria Wien 3−3 Juventus
  • July 14: Juventus 3−1 Austria Wien

Rio de Janeiro

  • July 12: Vasco da Gama 1−2 Palmeiras
  • July 15: Vasco da Gama 0−0 Palmeiras

Finals[edit]

São Paulo

  • July 18: Palmeiras 1−0 Juventus

Rio de Janeiro

  • July 22: Juventus 2−2 Palmeiras

Champion[edit]

Brazil Palmeiras
First title

1952 Copa Rio[edit]

Teams[edit]

Italy Juventus (1951/52 Italian champions) and Argentina Racing Club (1951 Argentine champions) withdrew from the competition.

Rio de Janeiro Group[edit]

All matches played at Estádio do Maracanã.

Teams GP W D L GF GA GD Points
Brazil Fluminense 3 2 1 0 4 0 4 5
Uruguay Peñarol 3 2 0 1 4 4 0 4
Portugal Sporting CP 3 1 1 1 3 4 -1 3
Switzerland Grasshopper-Club 3 0 0 3 1 4 -3 0
  • Peñarol 1−0 Grasshopper-Club
  • July 13: Fluminense 0−0 Sporting CP
  • Peñarol 3−1 Sporting CP
  • July 17: Fluminense 1−0 Grasshopper-Club
  • Sporting CP 2−1 Grasshopper-Club
  • July 20: Fluminense 3−0 Peñarol

São Paulo Group[edit]

All matches played at Estádio do Pacaembu.

Teams GP W D L GF GA GD Points
Brazil Corinthians 3 3 0 0 14 3 11 6
Austria Austria Wien 3 2 0 1 10 5 5 4
Paraguay Libertad 3 1 0 2 7 11 -4 2
West Germany FC Saarbrücken 3 0 0 3 3 15 -12 0
  • Austria - Libertad 4-2
  • July 13: Corinthians - Saarbrücken 6-1
  • July 16: Austria - Saarbrücken 5-1
  • Corinthians - Libertad 6-1
  • July 19: Libertad - Saarbrücken 4-1
  • Corinthians - Austria 2-1

Semi-finals[edit]

  • São Paulo semifinal

Corinthians - Peñarol 2-1

Corinthians - Peñarol w/o

  • Rio de Janeiro semifinal

July 23: Fluminense - Austria 1-0

July 27: Fluminense - Austria 5-2

Finals[edit]

Both matches played at Estádio do Maracanã.

  • July 30: Fluminense - Corinthians 2-0
  • August 2: Fluminense - Corinthians 2-2

Champion[edit]

Brazil Fluminense
First title

Torneio Octogonal Rivadavia Corrêa Meyer 1953[edit]

NB: tournament successor of Copa Rio held in 1951 and 1952.

Teams[edit]

  • Brazil Botafogo (Second Place of the Small Cup of the World in 1952)
  • Brazil Fluminense (Champion of the Copa Rio in 1952)
  • Brazil Vasco (Rio de Janeiro State Champions in 1952)
  • Brazil Corinthians (Champion of the Tournament Rio-São Paulo in 1953)
  • Brazil São Paulo (São Paulo State Champions in 1953)
  • Paraguay Olimpia (Second Place in the Paraguayan Championship in 1953)
  • Scotland Hibernian (Scottish Champion in 1952)
  • Portugal Sporting CP (Portuguese Champion in 1953)

Spain Real Madrid (Champion of the Small Cup of the World in 1952) withdrew from the competition. Uruguay Nacional (Uruguayan Champion in 1953) accepted the invitation to participate but was prohibited by the Uruguayan FA.

Rio de Janeiro Group[edit]

Date Venue Game Team
June 7, 1953 Rio de Janeiro A Vasco Brazil 3 - 3 Hibernian Scotland
June 13, 1953 Rio de Janeiro B Botafogo Brazil 3 - 1 Hibernian Scotland
June 14, 1953 Rio de Janeiro C Vasco Brazil 2 - 1 Fluminense Brazil
June 17, 1953 Rio de Janeiro D Botafogo Brazil 2 - 2 Fluminense Brazil
June 20, 1953 Rio de Janeiro E Fluminense Brazil 3 - 0 Hibernian Scotland
June 21, 1953 Rio de Janeiro F Vasco Brazil 2 - 1 Botafogo Brazil

Final Classification[edit]

Position Team GP W D L GF GA GD Points
1 Vasco da Gama Brazil 3 2 1 0 7 5 2 5
2 Fluminense Brazil 3 1 1 1 6 4 2 3
3 Botafogo Brazil 3 1 1 1 6 5 1 3
4 Hibernian Scotland 3 0 1 2 4 9 -5 1

São Paulo Group[edit]

Date Venue Game Team
June 7, 1953 São Paulo G Corinthians Brazil 5 - 2 Olimpia Paraguay
June 13, 1953 São Paulo H São Paulo Brazil 4 - 1 Olimpia Paraguay
June 14, 1953 São Paulo I Corinthians Brazil 2 - 1 Sporting Portugal
June 17, 1953 São Paulo J São Paulo Brazil 4 - 1 Sporting Portugal
June 20, 1953 São Paulo L Olimpia Paraguay 1 - 1 Sporting Portugal
June 21, 1953 São Paulo M São Paulo Brazil 1 - 1 Corinthians Brazil

Final Classification[edit]

Position Team GP W D L GF GA GD Points
1 São Paulo Brazil 3 2 1 0 9 3 6 5
2 Corinthians Brazil 3 2 1 0 8 4 4 5
3 Sporting Portugal 3 0 1 2 3 7 -4 1
4 Olimpia Paraguay 3 0 1 2 4 10 -6 1

Semi-finals[edit]

São Paulo

Date Venue Game Teams
June 24, 1953 São Paulo N São Paulo Brazil 1 - 0 Fluminense Brazil
June 28, 1953 São Paulo O São Paulo Brazil 0 - 1 (1 - 0) Fluminense Brazil

Rio de Janeiro

Date Venue Game Team
June 24, 1953 Rio de Janeiro Q Vasco da Gama Brazil 4 - 2 Corinthians Brazil
June 28, 1953 Rio de Janeiro R Vasco da Gama Brazil 3 - 1 Corinthians Brazil

Final[edit]

Date Venue Game Teams
July 1, 1953 São Paulo S São Paulo Brazil 0 - 1 Vasco da Gama Brazil
July 4, 1953 Rio de Janeiro T Vasco da Gama Brazil 2 - 1 São Paulo Brazil

Champion[edit]

Brazil Vasco da Gama
First title

See also[edit]

  • International club competition records

References[edit]

  1. ^ Originally, the 1953 competition was supposed to include four Brazilian teams and four foreign teams, but the Uruguayan Football Association prohibited Club Nacional de Montevideo from participating on the verge of the competition, and this club was replaced by Fluminense, as there was not enough time to search for a foreign substitute.
  2. ^ "Approval for Refereeing Assistance Programme and upper altitude limit for FIFA competitions". FIFA. 15 December 2007. Retrieved 16 December 2012. 
  3. ^ http://www.copanaafrica2010.com/2008/01/copa-de-1950-curiosidades/
  4. ^ a b The sources are available only in Portuguese and Spanish languages and are available on Portuguese language Wikipedia articles on the subject.
  5. ^ Corriere dello Sport: Claudio Carsughi - Tra Rio de Janeiro e San Paolo l´avvio del "Torneo dei Campioni" - página 3(acervo), 30/06/1951
  6. ^ La Stampa Per Boniperti, Parola ed Altafini sarà una tournée piena di ricordi e nostalgie, 30 de junho de 1975 - página: 10
  7. ^ http://www.emeroteca.coni.it/bookreader.php?&c=1&f=9961&p=3#page/4/mode/1up
  8. ^ Italian champion 1950/51, AC Milan, renounced because they had to play the Latin Cup during the same period.

External links[edit]