How we tipped off Fifa about a raid, but they took no notice.

On 22 January 2015 I wrote a little piece in Untold Arsenal about a change in the law in Switzerland which meant that corrupt Fifa officials could be arrested in that country and then prosecuted for their crimes.  It was not a piece that got that much attention beyond the regular Untold readership and I must admit I didn’t expect what happened on 27 May of that year as the Swiss authorities started arresting Fifa members.

The funny thing was, if only Fifa had read Untold they would have picked up on the warning as to what was going to happen.

The story of the law change was hardly covered elsewhere – certainly not in the mainstream UK media – and remains one of my favourite memories in the writing of Untold Arsenal and the Arsenal History Society blog.

Today in history

When Untold Arsenal noted a change in Swiss law which meant that employees of international bodies based in Switzerland no longer had absolute immunity from arrest, it was just

27 May 1926: Innsbruck Select XI 2 Arsenal 4 (scorers not recorded).  The sixth and final game of Herbert Chapman’s first summer tour.

27 May 1926: Jack Lee signed as a professional from Horden Athletic – one of Chapman’s first signings.  He played his first Arsenal game the following September.

27 May 1931: Following a season in which he scored an amazing 38 goals in just 34 league games Jack Lambert scored four in a 6-1 win over Sweden in Stockholm.

27 May 1933: Alex Wilson purchased from Greenock Morton for £600. He made his league debut the following January for Arsenal and went on to play 89 league and cup games for the club.

27 May 1945: Ernie Tuckett died while on active service in an airfield accident whilst serving in the RAF. He was just 31 at the time.  After Arsenal he had moved on to Bradford and Fulham.

27 May 1948: Doug Lishman signed from Walsall for £10,500.  Over the next eight seasons he scored 125 league goals for Arsenal in 226 games, plus another ten goals in the FA Cup.

27 May 1953: Grasshoppers 1 Arsenal 2.  Final game for Freddie Cox DFC and a debut for Dennis Evans as Cliff Holton scored twice.  Cox then moved on to be player coach of West Brom.

27 May 1970: Brian Hornsby joined Arsenal as an apprentice, having been a scholar from the year before.  He became a full professional in September 1971.

27 May 1973: Arsenal 4 Devonshire Colts (Bermuda) 0.  Final game for Peter Marinello.  In July he moved onto Portsmouth, having made just 32 starts in the 1st division.  Some sources quote this game as a week earlier, and others speak of a match in Toronto at this time.  See also here for the events around this game.

27 May 1987 Gervais Lombe Yao Kouassi (Gervinho) born.  He first played professionally for Beveren before moving on to Le Mans and Lille and then Arsenal in 2011.

27 May 1998: Ian Wright and Martin Keown played for England in a 1-0 away victory in a friendly against Morocco.  Wright was injured in the game and dropped out of World Cup squad.

27 May 1998: Despite having started only six games Remi Garde signed a one year extension contract.  John Lukic who had played no league games in the season did the same.  Scott Marshall and Chris Kiwomya however were released

27 May 2011: Robert Pires released by Aston Villa – concluding his final contract in the English football.  He later became an Arsenal ambassador and played in the Indian league.

27 May 2015: Working at the request of FBI agents, the Swiss authorities started to arrest Fifa executives over widespread corruption in FIFA over the past two decades.  The event was predicted in Untold following the change of the Swiss law the previous year to allow such action.

27 May 2017: Arsenal beat Chelsea 2-1 to win the FA Cup for an all time record 13th time.  It also made Arsene Wenger the manager with the most FA Cup victories in history.  Alexis and Ramsey got the goals, while Moses was sent off for one of the most blatant and appalling dives in the history of the FA Cup.  It also made Arsenal the only team to win the FA Cup three times in four years, twice.


We have a small number of copies of  “Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football”  and “Making the Arsenal” now available as printed books.  They are also available on Kindle.    Please see here for more details.

The series

Henry Norris at the Arsenal:  There is a full index to the series here.

Arsenal in the 1930s: The most comprehensive series on the decade ever

Arsenal in the 1970s: Every match and every intrigue reviewed in detail.


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