The Evolution of Football (Part 3) : How did FIFA come into the big picture?


In our last article, we emphasised on the fact how the Football Federation was formed and to what degree England structured the game. In this article we will look into how FIFA was born and brought up in it’s earlier days.

Initially, the increase in International matches handed in a request by a number of countries to form a global governing body. It was intended to reflect the role of the British in football’s history, but the football associations of the associate nations across the globe unanimously rejected such a body. This was led by rejection from the Football Association of England president Lord Kinnaird. Therefore, the rest of the countries who went ahead with the idea of a formation, decided to leave England and ‘FIFA’ was born uniting the Football governing bodies of France, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) was founded in the headquarters of the Union Française de Sports Athlétiques at the Rue Saint Honoré 229 in Paris on 21 May 1904. The initial proposal of FIFA stated that:

  1. Only the represented National Associations would be recognised.
  2. Clubs and players could only play for two National Associations at a time.
  3. All Associations would recognise the suspension of a player in any Association.
  4. Matches were to be played according to the “Laws of the Game of the Football Association Ltd”.
  5. Each National Association was to pay an annual fee of 50 French Francs.
  6. Only FIFA could organise International Matches.

Right before the FIFA Congress was held, it was confirmed by the body that Robert Guérin and André Espir (France); Louis Muhlinghaus and Max Kahn (Belgium); Ludvig Sylow (Denmark); Carl Anton Wilhelm Hirschman (Netherlands); Victor E Schneider (Switzerland) would be the one’s who would represent that meeting.

Each national association had to pay an annual fee of FF50. Already then there were thoughts of creating an international competition and FIFA alone was entitled to take over the organisation of such an event without the consent of the FA of England. It was decided that these regulations would only come into force as of 1 September 1904. Moreover, the first Statutes of FIFA were only of a provisional nature, in order to simplify the acceptance of additional members. On the day of foundation, the Deutscher Fussball-Bund (German FA) sent a telegram confirming that it would adhere to these Statutes in principle.

In 1905, England finally was convinced to join FIFA just before the second FIFA Congress took place. In the meantime, the associations from Germany, Scotland, Austria, Wales, Italy and Hungary also joined the governing body. In 1909, finally a non-European country joined the governing body making South Africa the first non-European country to be a part of FIFA. Argentina and Chile joined in 1912, while USA and Canada followed them just before the 1st World War.

If you liked it and missed the first article of this series you can read it here.

Photo by ryan_fung

Photo by NazionaleCalcio