The biggest football tournament is back in 2018 and this time it’s nestled in Russia to create another year into history. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association aka FIFA is a world renowned institution for football that has come a long way over the years. As we head on to the future of this game filled with enthusiasm, excitement and sportsman spirit, let us go back in time and reminisce the splendid moments since its foundation.
FIFA was founded in the rear of the headquarters of the Union Française de Sports Athlétiques at the Rue Saint Honoré 229 in Paris on 21 May 1904. The following associations had their representatives sign the foundation act.
Present at that historic meeting were: Robert Guérin and André Espir (France); Louis Muhlinghaus and Max Kahn (Belgium); Ludvig Sylow (Denmark); Carl Anton Wilhelm Hirschman (Netherlands); Victor E Schneider (Switzerland). Sylow also represented the SBF while Spir performed the same function for the Madrid Football Club.
These were the initial statutes that were stated by FIFA:
- Only the represented National Associations would be recognised.
- Clubs that players could only play for two National Associations at a time.
- All Associations would recognise the suspension of a player in any Association.
- Matches were to be played according to the “Laws of the Game of the Football Association Ltd”.
- Each National Association was to pay an annual fee of 50 French Francs.
- Only FIFA could organise International Matches.
These statutes came into effect on 1 September 1905, decided by the founding members and Germany. The first FIFA Congress was held on 23 May 1904 – Robert Guérin was elected President, Victor E. Schneider of Switzerland and Carl Anton Wilhelm Hirschmann of the Netherlands were made Vice Presidents, and Louis Muhlinghaus of Belgium was appointed Secretary and Treasurer with the help of Ludvig Sylow of Denmark.
In 1906, Daniel Burley Woolfall took over as president, making strides to uniformity in the globe’s laws. However, during World War I FIFA nearly collapsed after his death. Hirschmann pulled off a one man show and kept the association alive till 1919. After the Second World War, Jules Rimet of France was elected Chairman, becoming President in 1921.
FIFA also began to organize Olympic Games football tournaments. In the beginning it had 60,000 spectators watching the final at the 1924 Summer Olympics between Uruguay and Switzerland.
It wasn’t until the end of the 1928 Olympic Games held in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, that FIFA decided to hold its own football championship.
In that first contest there were 13 teams, 7 from South America, 4 from Europe and 2 from North America.
The first competition for the cup was organized in 1930 by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and was won by Uruguay defeating Argentina at 4-2 with an audience of 93,000.
The cup’s name was changed to the Jules Rimet Cup in 1946 in honour of the founder and first president of FIFA.
The football tournament was first televised in 1954.
On March 20, 1966, the cup was on show that year in England which was the host country. The cup was stolen and found by a dog named Pickles a week later. The dog’s owner received a £5,000 reward and Pickles was hailed a national hero. However, the cup was stolen again in Brazil in 1970 but was never recovered.
Today the tournament is played by 32 teams and is the most viewed sporting event in the world and has had legendary players create history with their magnificent games.