The Spurs are banned from playing in Paris and the FA are called an archaic organization.
In the latest in our Tottenham Mysteries series looking at Spurs stories that somehow don’t seem quite complete we examine a tale that fails to appear in any of the histories and its all about charity.
It was the 8th November 1933 and the British press carried the story with various quotes from the various characters involved. Widely quoted was Sir Frederick Wall, secretary to the FA that ‘he could give no official reason why Tottenham Hotspur to opposite First Vienna in Paris next Sunday had been refused. ’ He claimed an objection had been received from the French FA on the 26th October when they had seen a notice in a French newspaper announcing the game but no French club has asked permission for the game to take place.
Wall then said ‘that on the 1st November they had received another letter from the French in which they withdrew their objections to the match which would be a charity game and the proceeds given to a French War Charity.’ The FA agreed they had received an application from Tottenham to play the game in France.
Wall also said ‘it was unusual for two teams to meet in a country which is foreign to both of them and the emergency committee were not able to give permission for the match to be played until the facts had been placed before the council who would not meet again until the date for the game had passed. The whole matter would then be discussed before the full council in December. ‘
He didn’t really help the situation by then announcing that Arsenal had been given permission to Racing Club de Paris on the same day. Following the FA’ s ban the British press carried a number of stories claiming ‘uncomplimentary descriptions’ (as about damming as you could get at the time) had been evoked in many quarters in France as a refusal to allow Tottenham to play First Vienna in Paris. The Yorkshire Post informing the reader ‘comment in Paris continues to be acid’ The French press were clearly not impressed the UK Press Association quoting Paris Soir as describing the English FA as ‘An archaic organization crumbling under the weight of years.’ Adding ‘we always thought the British had more sporting flair.’ The L’intransigeant newspaper took a different line saying ‘the FA is afraid to allow its leading club to meet a strong foreign side outside England.’ The dispute was helped by at this point there was a major row between the various Rugby Union international bodies.
The French FA were said to be ‘dumfounded’ when they received an un-explanatory telegram from London announcing the scratching of the fixture.’ The reports claim that the French authorities than attempted to arrange for Spurs to play the Sete club that day instead.
However when asked to confirm this report Arthur Turner, the Tottenham sectary, replied ‘we shall not play anyone in Paris on Sunday, time is too short for the arrangement of another fixture and the obtaining of a permit as the FA require 14 days notice of a proposed visit. However our trip to the continent is merely a pleasure deferred.’
The press agencies claimed the authorities in Vienna were trying to mediate with the FA to induce a change of mind and the Racing Club de Paris whom were reported as being the sponsors of the game. When the press contacted the Austrian authorities they were told they were sorry that the FA had been unable to sanction the match ‘I quite recognize their right to do so, I do not wish to be concerned in any dispute with them I have had no direct contact with the FA but as far as I understand through speaking with Paris the FA holds the view that the conditions of the match wouldn't enable the Spurs to give a worthy representation of the British football, as they would have to fly over to Paris at the conclusion of a league match.
I can only repeat that the FA has the complete right to decide. ‘The First Vienna club whose side had already been selected for the game declined to comment. Spurs played Newcastle at home on the 11th winning 4-0.
The Daily Independent did offer a different opinion claiming that the FA ‘might’ be concerned that ‘private individuals on the other side have been exploiting British teams for financial gain. It is felt that the money from football should go back into the game. Throughout its history the Football Association has been down on the exploitation of football by private enterprise.’
In the end Tottenham stayed at home. Strangely just a few weeks later on December 6th England played France at White Hart Lane.
It is also not the first time Spurs had been banned from visiting Europe by the FA, they had been refused permission to visit Germany in 1907, refer to Planet Spurs,
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