The beginning of FIFA history...
FIFA history began when the Fédération Internationale de Football Association or International Federation of Association Football, as it is sometimes known in English speaking countries, was founded May 21st, 1904 in Paris, France to provide a unifying international body to oversee the development of the international game. As a result, it has played an important part in the development and history of soccer.
The original founding countries, France, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland, were all from Europe, with England and Germany joining shortly thereafter. An important part of FIFA history was the beginning of international expansion in the early 1900's with South Africa, Argentina, Canada and the USA joining.
The FIFA Statutes
Robert Guerin, the founding president of FIFA, conceived the organization to be an umbrella organization for the game as a whole. As a result, FIFA created several statues to oversee the game and ensure fairness and continuity. These early statues stated that:
1. Only represented National Associations would be acknowledged.
2. Clubs and players could only play for one National Association at a time.
3. All Associations would recognize the suspension of a player in any one Association.
4. Matches 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 arrange International Matches.
The early competitions were of little success, with the general public not paying much attention to soccer until the 1920 Summer Olympics in Belgium. Unfortunately, the fledgling organization was in constant disarray, leading to the withdrawal of the home nations (The United Kingdom), from FIFA in 1919 following the First World War due to political reasons. The British basically felt uneasy competing against countries they had just gone to war against.
The World Cup is born!
FIFA's most popular event is of course the World Cup, which opened July 18th, 1930 in Montevideo, Uruguay. This ultimately became a very important day in FIFA history, but unfortunately, the outbreak of war meant that international competition was put on hold. Eventually, as the political situation stabilized, competition flourished with the United Kingdom re-joining FIFA following the Second World War in 1946.
Since then, FIFA has become the governing body of soccer worldwide, regulating international play, rules, and ensuring fairness and stability between all countries and now boasting over 208 members...more than The United Nations!
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