A UNIVERSITY professor has claimed that England were lucky in more than ways than one when they won the World Cup in 1966.

Professor Alan Tomlinson, from the University of Brighton, has used material from UEFA’s archive to prove that England got lucky when they won the trophy.

In terms of luck, the final of the 1966 World Cup, which saw England beat West Germany 4-2 following extra time, saw referee Gottfried Dienst controversially allow Geoff Hurst’s world famous “did it cross the line” goal.

But Professor Tomlinson believes, having found private papers belonging to then FIFA president Stanley Rous, another factor may have helped guide England to victory on home soil.

Prof Tomlinson claims to have seen a letter from the Confederation of African Football (CAF), which wrote to UEFA suggesting FIFA had appointed referees who might favour European teams.

The letter came from the CAF vice-president Ydnekatchew Tessema from Ethiopia, one of the African nations which boycotted the finals after Rous’s FIFA committee recommended the reinstatement of South Africa despite that country’s racial segregation and following FIFA’s refusal to grant Africa a single slot in the 1966 finals.

Tessema apparently questioned why all of England’s matches were played at Wembley and why England and West Germany were given European referees when they faced South American opposition in the quarter-finals.

Prof Tomlinson, who teaches Leisure Studies, said: “Rous was a true internationalist who sincerely believed in the force of football and sport more generally to create positive inter-cultural relations in a volatile world.

“But in his dealings with emergent forces in a post-colonial world he found it difficult, indeed at times inappropriate, to discard the values of the benign imperialist.”

Professor Tomlinson’s book on Rous, An Englishman Abroad: Stanley Rous and the Rise and Fall of English Football, is expected to be published next year.