George McCabe

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George McCabe
Born 13 March 1922
Sheffield, Yorkshire
Died January 2001
Occupation Association football referee
Known for 1966 FIFA World Cup

George McCabe (born 13 March 1922,[1] Sheffield, Yorkshire; died January 2001[2]) was an English association football referee, who officiated at the 1966 World Cup and in an FA Cup Final. He became a Football League referee in 1954 and an international referee in 1960. Throughout his league career he sent off only three players. Outside football he was the director of a Sheffield engineering company.[3]


McCabe, though awarded the 1969 FA Cup Final in his final match in England, is perhaps more well known for his handling of the Brazil versus Portugal World Cup match played at Goodison Park, Liverpool, on 19 July 1966, in which he was assisted by Wales' Leo Callaghan and England's Ken Dagnall.[4]

During that game he failed to send João Morais from the field of play after a double foul on Pelé.[5] Although McCabe had appeared on the line in Brazil's victory over Bulgaria a week earlier,[6] he played no further part in the competition following this incident.[7]

Brian Glanville, writing of the match, stated: "Pelé would say that it was only when he saw the incident on film that he realised how bad it was. He would swear, then, never to play in a World Cup again. The indulgent, flaccid English referee, George McCabe, allowed Morais to stay on the field, so that now Portugal were playing against ten men".[8] In 2010, The Telegraph listed it among the 10 worst refereeing errors in World Cup history.[5]

The official Sheffield United website mentions his death when crediting him with being co-founder (along with Derek Dooley) of the "Senior Blades Club", for over-60 supporters. SUFC Senior Blades is still ongoing, as per the Sheffield United official website. .[2]


  1. ^ Birthdate: website. Retrieved on 26 March 2008.
  2. ^ a b "The late George McCabe": Sheffield United official website. Retrieved on 26 March 2008.
  3. ^ (The Guardian, 25 April 1969, p22)
  4. ^ Brazil v. Portugal, Group C, 1966 World Cup: website. Retrieved on 26 March 2008.
  5. ^ a b World Cup final: 10 top World Cup refereeing errors The Telegraph Retrieved 8 May 2011
  6. ^ Brazil v. Bulgaria (linesman), Group C, 1966 World Cup: website. Retrieved on 26 March 2008.
  7. ^ "All hail the King of Football for all times - King Pelé - Edson Arantes do Nascimento", Allan La Rose: Guyana Chronicle website. Retrieved on 26 March 2008.
  8. ^ The Story of the World Cup, Brian Glanville, Faber and Faber, 2006 (p. 145), ISBN 0-571-19081-2.
Preceded by
Leo Callaghan
FA Cup Final Referee
Succeeded by
Eric Jennings