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Earthquake in Mexico 1985, FIFA problem

Earthquake in Mexico 1985, FIFA problem

In 1985, a catastrophe shook, not only Mexico City, but the hearts of millions of people in the country. That tragic Thursday, the capital just to start rising daily activities when an earthquake, magnitude 8.1 degrees on the Richter scale with its epicenter in Guerrero coast, surprised own and strangers, in work centers, on the streets, in schools and thousands of homes. According to unofficial counts, the death toll exceeded ten thousand, and the material damages caused to the metropolí were quantified in millions of dollars.

The city center was one of the hardest hit and stood out above much, what happened with the collapse of the Juárez Hospital, where not only dozens of patients and hospital staff died, but many babies perished and many others, managed to survive, in an unprecedented miracle. In this context, sport was affected. The Social Security baseball park was used as an amphitheater for the corpses; Weekend sports competitions were suspended and footballers such as Daniel Alberto Brailovsky fled the country in fear of the earthquake aftershocks.

The earthquake of 1985 left Mexico DF very touched.
The earthquake of 1985 left Mexico DF very touched.

Preparations for the FIFA World Cup were active at the same time, Mexico 1986. Scarcely eight months left for the initial whistle and it was necessary to think of a restructuring in the organization of the joust. Some time ago, late 1982 The World Cup that was originally intended to be held in Colombia had been relocated. The lack of development and the lack of progress in the works forced a change of venue. The compadrazgo between Havelange and Guillermo Cañedo, vice president of FIFA in those years, it was vital to grant headquarters to Mexico, which was also not characterized by a large economy, much less for a first-rate infrastructure, derived from a period of recession in the previous six-year period, which one, the nation still could not fully recover.

The earthquake came, not only to hurt the feelings of many, it was also about to affect the ambitions of others. A few days after the tragedy happened, immediately thought of an emerging headquarters. Germany was the first candidate, and it was logical that the calendar be modified. But nevertheless, Cañedo traveled to Switzerland to defend his interests. Already had millionaire contracts signed with FIFA's business partners, many of whom sponsored the event for more than six world championships, and some of them still persist. Thus, I couldn't drop a "real gold mine".

The World Cup that enchanted Maradona was about to not be held.
The World Cup that enchanted Maradona was about to not be held.

A phrase of Cañedo that sadly passed to posterity was that of "The city may fall, but the stadiums for the World Cup still stand ”. This attitude was not only rejected by a good part of Mexican society, but also from the international scene. Rob Hughes, writer of the International Herald Tribune, publication belonging to The New York Times, commented that football was literally at the "epicenter". He questioned whether the World Cup would really represent an aid or a burden for Mexico.

He also confronted the position of Henry Cavan, FIFA Senior Vice President, who proposed to postpone the start of the Cup. The other version was that of Cañedo himself, who refuted Cavan on the premise that the damage to Mexico City had been exaggerated by the news, adding that in other cities, the fear was greater than the damage caused by the earthquake.

Eight months later, and with stronger decision-making power, Cañedo's purpose was fulfilled. The World Cup started 1986, in the grass of the Azteca Stadium, that mythical scenario that did not bear the name of the manager 13 years later, but also saw Manuel Negrete's scissor goal pass, Maradona's “Goal of the Century”, "The hand of God", and the culmination of one of the best world championships in history in terms of football.

This property was also witness to the rechifla that the respectable gave to the then President of the Republic, Miguel from Madrid, and of course Guillermo Cañedo de la Barcena. A) Yes, the tragedy that represented a headache for FIFA leaders was silenced with the voices of the World Cup, but not so for the Mexican people, that 29 years, keep remembering with sad freshness the earthquake, as if the wounds had not closed.

Finally despite the tragedy, Mexico celebrated its World Cup.
Finally despite the tragedy, Mexico celebrated its World Cup.
Sergio Castillo

Sergio Castillo

Historian football and other sports. anthropological identities footballing visionary. I've posted for football. You can read me in Colgadosporelfutbol.com and futbolysociedad.blogspot.mx and follow me on @ scastillo14. México D.F.

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