Rodolphe Seeldrayers bigraphy, stories - President of FIFA

Rodolphe Seeldrayers : biography

December 16, 1876 - October 7, 1955

Rodolphe William Seeldrayers (December 16, 1876 – October 7, 1955) was the 4th President of FIFA, serving from 1954 to 1955. He was actively involved in the official associations of Belgian sports.


Eight fields of Belgian sports have benefited from Seeldrayers' attentions: athletics, football, aviation, cricket, field hockey, golf and, in a small measure, tennis and swimming — eight different sports in which he was involved — athletics and football being without any doubt his predilection. To begin with, he was the Belgian champion of the 110-meter hurdles in 1897, and he competed for ten years; secondly, he was the Belgian Division of honor champion with the Racing-Club of Brussels' team in 1900, and captain of the university team of Brussels in 1898 and 1899. All in all, he competed for 26 years.

As for other fields, their practice lasted an average of ten years and always at an elevated level of accomplishment, winning at least a championship: he had five years in the Regatta Club (Cercle des régates) of Brussels and the "Sunburn" team (Coup de Soleil), ten years of cricket in le Racing and the "Ango-Belgian Club" of Brussels, and was its three time champion of Belgium. He was captain, in 1924, of the national team which defeated France in Paris, ten years of hockey in the Racing-Club of Brussels, and in 1903, in the national team against France, in Paris; golf from 1919 onwards in the Waterloo Golf Club where he was captain for ten years.

Seeldrayers was a very accomplished sportsman, and as can be seen from the many sports in which he competed, he had preference for team sports, which agreed with his conception of sports, since, according to Seeldrayers, sports must be the playing-field of an apprenticeship in the necessary values of life and community.


Free University of Brussels Union royale belge des Sociétés de football association Royal Belgian Union of the Football Association Societies

In 1899, Seeldrayers began a career as a sports journalist with the magazine "La vie sportive", (Sporting life), writing a column under the pen name Spectator. Ten years later, he founded the National Committee for Physical Education which merged with the Belgian Olympic Committee. He became head of the committee beginning in 1946, succeeding Prince Albert de Ligne.

In 1920, he was Technical Secretary of the Olympic Games at Anvers, and would be a member of the appeals jury for football at the Olympic games several times, most notably at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, where an incident during the Peru v Austria game provoked an appeals jury consultation. During the match spectators invaded the pitch. The Austrian Football Association sent a complaint to the appeals committee which decided, after deliberation, to re-play the match "behind closed doors." Peru disagreed and their entire Olympic squad left the Games complaining of the 'crafty Berlin decision'. He also received the official Czechoslovak complaint following the abandoned 1920 Olympic Final which had been refereed by John Lewis.

Inveterate founder of clubs and associations, the following organizations are to Seeldrayers' credit: the Waterloo Golf-Club (1923), the Ixelles Football Club (which would be part of the merger with the Racing Club of Brussels) and the Anglo-Belgian Cricket Sporting Club. Selldrayers seemed to be well received in English circles: up-to-date and to the point in matters of sport, he furthermore had perfectly mastered the English language. At the same time, Seeldrayers continued his journalistic activities and began a new collaboration with the publication "Sports Echo" (L'Écho des Sports), but it would end this aspect of his activities in 1935, while still continuing to publish articles and to make his opinions known in the columns of the Bulletins of the International Olympic Committee.

The Second World War slowed down his activities somewhat without stopping them: as a member of the Belgian Olympic Committee during the Occupation, he stood up for the independence of Belgian sport. At the end of the War, he was one of the members of the International Olympic Committee for the first post-war Games, in 1946.

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