Arnie the Arlesey Armadillo vs FIFA's Fuleco

Arnie the Arlesey Armadillo vs FIFA’s Fuleco (MarcusVDT /


There has always been a degree of controversy around the World Cup 2014 mascot, but the world’s most famous footballing armadillo seems to be the target of some more headlines from the unlikely destination of the Home Counties… Our Bedfordshire consultant, Joe Morris, tells us more:

Arlesey Town FC, you know the ones, the prolific winners of the 1996 FA Vase. No? I’m shocked! Well, I suppose I’d better give you the low down: Arlesey is a small town in Bedfordshire, the kind of town that no-one’s ever heard of and where nothing interesting ever happens. The town, famous for nothing more than a piece of fishing tackle (cf: the Arlesey Bomb), isn’t the type of place you’d imagine FIFA would look to for artistic inspiration…until now!

In what looks to be one of the strangest events in World Cup mascot history, it appears that Arlesey Town FC’s long standing mascot, Arnie the Armadillo, has acted as muse for the big wigs over at FIFA! Fuleco the World Cup 2014 Mascot and Arnie share a remarkable number of similarities. Perhaps it’s a case of shared lineage that may result in a Jeremy Kyle-esque sibling reunion, perhaps not.

People have argued that an armadillo seemed like a strange choice of mascot for the World Cup 2014, as it doesn’t exactly scream Brazil, but on the other hand it doesn’t scream Arlesey either. Perhaps it’s the crunchy outside and the soft inside that drew both Arlesey Town FC and FIFA to this (admittedly cute) armoured rat. It’s most likely a complete coincidence, or more accurately a whole series of complete coincidences, as even small details from Arnie seem to have made their way over to Fuleco…

They both have the blue, football-tesselated canopy (an armadillo’s is actually brown); the green eyes (again, actually brown); the long, thin ears (an armadillo’s are really pretty round)… Of course, we’re not saying that one of the Brazilian designers worked in London for a while, and perhaps lived in Bedfordshire. Or perhaps played part-time in a non-league side against Arlesey Town in the Southern League? Oh no. This is most likely a case that won’t ever be solved, but have a look at the pictures and decide for yourselves…

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3 thoughts on “World Cup 2014 Mascot Controversy

  1. joe 10 years ago

    When did arnie come around in costume form? With the crossed eyes it looks like a knock off chinese fuleco costume.

  2. duh 10 years ago

    That’s obviously a knock off Fuleco costume that they bought. Real deep mystery. Solved.

  3. clarkovitch 10 years ago

    Well, if it’s a knock-off Fuleco costume, I gather that it’s been around since before he was chosen by vote as the mascot? Not that FIFA votes are ever rigged, of course…