Has a national football team ever declined to participate in the World Cup finals after qualifying?

If there has been such a case, what were their reasons for not taking part?

  • @gdrt - I think "World cup finals" is the most commonly used phrase for the part of the tournament that takes part exclusively in the host countr(y|ies). I'm going to change that part of the title back, although I believe it was important to include qualification in the title, as you did. – Reinstate Monica 2331977 Jun 23 '17 at 1:25
  • Well, maybe you're right, but last time when you made this edit, @J. Doe thought that we are talking only about the final game and was confused if my answer was obsolete. People are having hard time understanding the difference between "World Cup finals" and "World Cup final game" – gdrt Jun 23 '17 at 1:30

There were a lot of occasions when teams withdrew during qualification phase, but there are only 4 after qualification, and as one may guess those happened in the early years of the World Cup, when it still needed some advertisement:

In 1938 World Cup:

As a result of Anschluss, i.e. annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany, Austria had to withdraw from the tournament despite qualification.

In 1950 World Cup:

Scotland was granted a berth in the World Cup final phase as runners-up of British Home Championship, but their federation secretary decided that Scotland would have had to win the Home Tournament if they were to take part.

Turkey also withdrew, citing financial problems and the cost of travelling to South America.


After the draw, the Indian football association AIFF decided against going to the World Cup, citing travel costs (although FIFA had agreed to bear a major part of the travel expenses), lack of practice time, team selection issues and valuing the Olympics over the FIFA World Cup.

Although FIFA had imposed a rule banning barefoot play following the 1948 Olympics where India had played barefoot, the Indian captain at the time, Sailen Manna, claimed that this was not part of the AIFF's decision.

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  • I recall reading that Portugal, after failing to qualify, was asked to fill in the schedule, but declined the invitation. According to wikipedia so did France and Ireland. So, in a way all of them have declined after being able to play it, though not stricly after qualifying. See: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… – Rolazaro Azeveires Jun 22 '17 at 21:06
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    Thanks for pointing this out. I didn't add them on purpose, cause they didn't really "qualify", but I might consider to add them, or you are also welcome to edit the answer. – gdrt Jun 22 '17 at 21:44
  • I guess they'll make a good pair as they are. A reply for the real qualifiers, a remark for the others :-) – Rolazaro Azeveires Jun 23 '17 at 20:25

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