7 Jun 2014

Bobby Moore and the Bogota bracelet (1970)

Days before England began their defence of the World Cup in Mexico, their captain was arrested in Colombia on suspicion of stealing a bracelet. ITN’s Gerald Seymour spoke to him after his release.

Everyone was optimistic when England flew to Mexico to defend the World Cup in 1970, writes Ian Searcey.

Sir Alf Ramsey believed the squad was even stronger than the one that had won at Wembley in 1966 and was confident that once the players had acclimatised to the conditions in South America, they would be well equipped to retain the trophy.

To help prepare for the high altitudes, two friendly matches were planned, in Colombia on 20 May and in Equador foru days later. After checking into a hotel in Bogota ahead of the first game, captain Bobby Moore, Peter Thompson and Bobby Charlton visited a jewellers close to the hotel shopping for presents.

Seeing nothing they liked, the players left the shop, only to be accused by the assistant of stealing a bracelet from one of the display cases. Protesting their innocence, they were questioned by security staff and then allowed to leave.

World Cup plot?

Having played both of the friendly games, the team had a stopover in Bogota on the way back from Ecuador and stayed in the same hotel. Another witness to the supposed theft had come forward, and Moore was promptly arrested as the team rested in the same hotel in the Colombian capital.

The team had to carry on to Mexico without their captain, who remained under house arrest at the home of a Colombian football official while investigations continued.

After four days training alone, with no hard evidence appearing, Moore went before a judge on 28 May and was released. ITN reporter Gerald Seymour joined an obviously relieved England skipper on the plane from Bogota to Mexico City on his way to rejoin the squad.

On 2 June, Moore captained England to a 1-0 win over Romania in their opening game.

Some believed the accusations were either an attempt to extort money from the England team or to undermine their preparations for the World Cup, but Moore was finally cleared of any wrong-doing in 1972.