Organization of World Cup 1982, Spain

The tournament was held from June 13 to July 11, 1982, a few weeks after the main European football leagues ended, and close to the start of summer in Spain.

Preparations for the World Championship coincided with the Spanish transition to democracy and were heavily influenced by it, and in 1975 a FEF Commission led by José Ángel Zalba was set up, which would initially be in contact with In September of 1978, the Government of Spain approved a royal decree to establish the Royal Organizing Committee of the World-82 (RCOM) in which the FEF, the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) and the Ministry of Culture participated. . The presidency of the RCOM was entrusted to Raimundo Saporta, former vice president of Real Madrid, and also included the president of the IOC, Juan Antonio Samaranch, and the president of the FEF, Pablo Porta. FIFA supervised the preparations at all times through its own committees. The most important tasks of the RCOM were the search for financing, the renewal of infrastructures and guaranteeing security.

For the international signal of the parties, Spanish Radio and Television (RTVE) renewed all its material and built the communications tower “Torrespaña” in Madrid.

Months before the inauguration there were setbacks that threatened the celebrations. At the political level, the most notable was the failed coup d’état in 1981. At the organizational level, Saporta had to temporarily withdraw from the RCOM due to illness, to return within a few weeks, and there were problems with the travel agency Mundiespaña, formed for travel of fans and ticket sales It is considered that Spain took advantage of the celebration of the World-82 to take experience and apply to other major international events, including the 1992 Olympic Games.

According to FIFA data, the World Cup reported a gross profit of 60 million dollars -between ticket sales, television rights and publications- and expenses exceeding 26 million dollars.


The 1982 World Cup is, to date, the most stadiums used in a single country: a total of 17 venues in 14 cities. The cities of Madrid, Barcelona and Seville would welcome two stadiums each, with the Camp Nou chosen for the inauguration and the Santiago Bernabéu for the final. The rest of the chosen ones were, in alphabetical order: Alicante, Bilbao, Elche, Gijón, La Coruña, Málaga, Oviedo, Valencia, Valladolid, Vigo and Zaragoza.

To apply, it was necessary for the town councils to submit their candidacy to the Organizing Committee, to have a team in the First Division or, if not, to surpass 200,000 inhabitants.The final election was made based on logistical criteria; Palma de Mallorca and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, both pre-selected, were left out because of their status as island cities, San Sebastián could not attend either due to lack of consensus on a possible stadium in Zubieta, other candidates that were discarded were Santander, Burgos , Cádiz and Granada.

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