Table of Contents: [TOC]


Founded in 1904 to provide unity among national soccer associations, the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) today boasts 197 members, and is one of the most prestigious organizations in the world.

FIFA, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, was founded in Paris on 21 May 1904 by delegates from the following countries: France, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Because it was founded in Paris on the initiative of Robert Guérin, the President of the French Association after an international match between France and Belgium, the name of the newly-founded FIFA was in French. The expression "association football" was adopted by FIFA to distinguish it from rugby football whose roots are to be found in our game.

FIFA's emblem, the stylised hemispheres of the globe, is intended to convey the message that football spans the world. Nowadays it symbolises the international football family.


Dr. João Havelange, President of soccer's world international governing body, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), is one of the world's most respected sportsmen. Originally elected President of FIFA as successor to Sir Stanley Rous in 1974 (the seventh in the history of the world federation), Dr. Havelange has guided FIFA to worldwide stature using his business skills to create a successful partnership between sponsorship and football (soccer).

Among the great accomplishments during Dr. Havelange's leadership of FIFA have been the increase of teams in the World Cup final competition from 16 to 24 (as from 1982) and, as from France 1998, 32 teams, the creation of the FIFA World Youth Championships in 1977 (for players under 20 years old), the Under-17 Championship in 1985, the development of world competitions for indoor football (futsal) and women's football. He initiated the construction of FIFA's modern headquarters in Zurich and paved the way for the reintegration of the People's Republic of China into the world football movement. In the seventies he established development programmes on several levels for third world football countries, thereby starting a constructive north-south dialogue which still continues. The good results accomplished by African and Asian teams at the past World Cups are the positive consequences of those efforts.

Reelected to his sixth term as FIFA President at the FIFA Congress in Chicago (USA) on 16 June, 1994, Dr. Havelange has embarked on yet another ambitious programme for the forthcoming years. One is to set up a foundation for the benefit of young footballers from underprivileged circles. Another is a documentation centre, incorporating a video library and other material on world football and FIFA, which will be built next to the FIFA offices in Zurich. A chair will be installed at Neuchâtel University (Switzerland) for the study of the financial, social and overall economic implications of football. Finally, the communications system among the FIFA headquarters in Zurich and the associations and confederations will be completely modernised with state-of-the-art technology.

Dr. Havelange has spent most of his life in sports, both as a participant and as an executive. He competed twice in the Olympic Games, making his debut as a swimmer for his native Brazil in 1936. He later competed as a member of Brazil's water polo team in 1952 and was a leader of the Brazilian delegation to the 1956 Melbourne games.

Dr. Havelange was elected president of the Confederaçao Brasileira de Desportos (CBD) in 1958 and served in that important role until his election as FIFA President in 1974. During his tenure with the CBD, Brazil won the World Cup three times (1958, 1962 and 1970). He has been a member of the International Olympic Committee since 1963 and has been instrumental in establishing soccer as one of the most successful disciplines in the Olympic Games. It is thanks to his initiative that women's football was made a medal sport as from the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

Born on May 8, 1916 in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), João Havelange holds a doctorate in Law. He is the President of COMETA S.A., a leading Brazilian bus company and is a director of companies in the insurance and chemical industries as well as a director of several schools.

Dr. Havelange has been the recipient of numerous awards for his services to sports. Among them are the Cavalier of the Legion d'Honneur (France), the Order of Special Merit in Sports (Brazil), the Commander of the Cavaliers of the Orden Infante Dome Henrique (Portugal), the Cavalier of the Vasa Orden (Sweden) and the Grand Cross of Elizabeth the Catholic (Spain). In 1988 he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

A man who enjoys a daily regimen of jogging and swimming, Dr. Havelange lives in Rio de Janeiro with his family.


Joseph S. (Sepp) Blatter is General Secretary of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), soccer's world governing body. Mr. Blatter was appointed to his present position in November 1981, after a distinguished career in business and sport.

As the CEO of FIFA's administration, Mr. Blatter is in constant contact with the organisation's 191 member nations (as well as two provisionally affiliated members) and is in charge of carrying out the decisions of FIFA's Executive Committee and ensuring that the members adhere to the FIFA Statutes and Regulations.

Mr. Blatter began his professional career as Secretary of the Valaisan Tourist Board in his native Switzerland and then became General Secretary of the Swiss Ice Hockey Federation (1964). Afterwards he pursued journalistic and public relations activities in the fields of sport and private industry. As Director of Sports Timing and Public Relations of Longines S.A., he was involved in the organization of the 1972 and 1976 Olympic Games.

In the autumn of 1975, Mr. Blatter joined FIFA as Director of Technical Development Programmes, where he began to formulate the competition and educational programmes which now are so much a part of FIFA's worldwide activity. In 1977 he was named Technical Director of FIFA.

Born March 10, 1936 in Visp, Switzerland, near the famous Matterhorn, Mr. Blatter was an active soccer player from 1948 to 1971, playing also for some time in the first Swiss Amateur Division. He is a member of the Swiss Association of Sportswriters and a member of the Panathlon Club, an association of sports executives. He has also served as a Colonel in the Swiss Army.

He graduated from the Collège de Sion in Switzerland with a school leaving certificate and then gained a degree as Bachelor of Business Administration and Economics from the Faculty of Law at the University of Lausanne.

FROM 7... TO 197

Seven Associations were affiliated to FIFA at the time of its foundation. As of the 50th Ordinary Congress of FIFA, held in Zurich on 3 and 4 July 1996, FIFA has grown to include 197 member associations, thus making it one of the biggest and - with over 150 million active players - certainly the most popular sports federation in the world.

That demands efficient administration: The legislative body of FIFA, the Congress, which meets every two years, lays down the Statutes and the Regulations governing their application. Each National Football Association has one vote regardless of size or playing power. The Congress also elects the President for a tenure of four years. The election takes place in the same year as the World Cup.

The Executive Committee, compromising 21 members (the FIFA President, eight Vice Presidents and twelve members with the allocation per continent: Europe 8, Asia, Africa, Central America/Caribbean and South America 3 each), is the Federation's executive body. There are 17 specialised Committees serving the Executive Committee in an advisory capacity in the various sectors.

The leading figure in the administration is the General Secretary, who is responsible for implementing the decisions of the Executive Committee. He heads some 45 employees working in the FIFA House in Zurich.

The official languages of FIFA are English, French, Spanish and German. Then there are the additional Congress languages of Russian, Arabic and Portuguese.


Football's ever increasing popularity, its overwhelming attraction for the young, its growing economic, social and political impact and finally the attention that the mass media devote to it, are all factors which turn it into a tempting springboard for advertisers. The enormous growth in this sector has prompted FIFA to conclude long- term contracts with various partners. This ensures the means for FIFA to go about its own administration and make possible worldwide development programmes.

Promoting and developing football is one of FIFA's principal tasks. It is, however, no loess the responsibility of FIFA to maintain traditional sporting values, whether launching a worldwide fair play campaign, through continual work in the education care of young people, or by improving the health of sportsmen in general. Top competitive sport, that is, professional football, is only a minute part of the global football movement. Yet another responsibility of FIFA is to harness the tumultuous publicity surrounding top football to spread its growth among the masses.

Sport, and football too, was originally a recreational activity and that is the way it should be — football in the service of society and not vice versa.

Continental Confederations

In 1953, FIFA authorized formation of the continental confederations to help administer soccer on a regional basis. The European (UEFA) and Asian (AFC) confederations were formed in 1954, followed by the African group (CAF) in 1956, the North and Central American and Caribbean body (CONCACAF) in 1961, and the Oceania group (OFC) in 1966. The South American confederation (CONMEBOL), founded in 1916, is the oldest unit affiliated with FIFA.

FIFA Competitions

In addition to the World Cup, FIFA sponsors several other international championship tournaments, including: World Youth (under-20) Championship for the FIFA/Coca-Cola Cup; under-17 World Championship for the FIFA/JVC Cup; FIFA World Championship for Women's Football; the Olympic Games football competition; and FIFA Futsal World Championship.

The World Cup Championship

The FIFA World Cup is the world's largest single-sport event. A staggering total of 188 countries watched the 1994 World Cup. The resulting accumulation of viewers, from every corner of the globe, has established an all-time television record: a cumulative television audience of 31.2 billion for the 52 matches.

The World Cup evolved from its roots in the early 20th-century Olympic movement, particularly the Games of the 1920s. Fourteen nations participated in the 1920 Antwerp Olympics; 22, including the first Olympic representatives from South America, Asia and Africa, traveled to Paris in 1924; and 17 went to Amsterdam in 1928.

Two years later, on May 26, 1928, FIFA announced plans to run its own competition, and the World Cup was born. The FIFA Congress, led by then-President Jules Rimet, passed a declaration stating that FIFA would "organize a competition open to representative teams of all affiliated national associations."

The first World Cup tournament was awarded to Uruguay in 1930. Held between the post-war redevelopment of Europe and the Great Depression, this initial tournament found itself without a single European entrant only two months prior to the opening ceremonies. After forceful lobbying by Rimet, four European nations arrived, but nobody could unseat the defending Olympic champion and host nation, as Uruguay won the first of its two championships.

The World Cup tournament has flourished over the past 65 years, attracting nearly every soccer-playing nation to its qualifying phase and amassing a cumulative worldwide television audience of 32 billion people during the 1994 games. Today, the World Cup trophy remains the single most coveted sports trophy in the world. The event has been contested every four years since 1930, except in the war years of 1942 and 1946.

Originally, the World Cup was set at 16 teams, but was expanded to 24 teams for the 1982 tournament. This expansion has proven beneficial for soccer, particularly in the game's developing regions.

A total of 141 nations entered the 1994 World Cup qualifying phase. More than 500 qualifying matches played in FIFA's six confederations were held to narrow the field to the 24 finalist teams for the 1994 World Cup.

World Cup Champions Through the Years

Year Site            Champion        Runnerup

1930    Uruguay         Uruguay         Argentina
1934    Italy           Italy           Czechoslovakia
1938    France          Italy           Hungary
1942    No tournament held due to World War II
1946    No tournament held due to World War II
1950    Brazil          Uruguay         Brazil
1954    Switzerland     West Germany    Hungary
1958    Sweden          Brazil          Sweden
1962    Chile           Brazil          Czechoslovakia
1966    England         England         West Germany
1970    Mexico          Brazil          Italy
1974    West Germany    West Germany    Netherlands
1978    Argentina       Argentina       Netherlands
1982    Spain           Italy           West Germany
1986    Mexico          Argentina       West Germany
1990    Italy           West Germany    Argentina
1994    USA             Brazil          Italy


The World Cup trophy is the most sought-after sports trophy in the world. There have been two World Cup trophies in the 65-year history of the competition.

The World Cup trophy in use today was designed by Silvio Gazzaniga (and submitted by Bertoni of Milan, Italy), after the original Jules Rimet Trophy was retired and awarded to Brazil, the first team to have won three World Cup championships (1970 in Mexico).

The Jules Rimet statuette, named in honor of the FIFA president who initiated the World Cup tournament, was designed by a French sculptor, Abel Lafleur, as a Goddess of Victory holding an octagonal vessel in her outstretched hands. The trophy was created in gold with a base in semi-precious stones.

The Jules Rimet Trophy was hidden under a bed in Italy during World War II to protect it from the invading forces, and then was stolen from a public exhibit just prior to the 1966 World Cup in England. The trophy was later recovered in a trash heap by a dog named "Pickles."

In 1983 the trophy was stolen again: this time in Brazil, and this time it was not recovered. It is speculated that it was melted down by the criminals responsible. The Brazilian Football Association replaced it with a duplicate.

In 1974, FIFA donated the new World Cup trophy for the Xth World Cup. Gazzaniga's design was chosen by FIFA from 53 other trophy models presented. Gazzaniga described his work by saying, "The lines spring out of the base, rising in spirals, stretching out to receive the world. From the remarkable dynamic tensions of the compact body of the sculpture rise the figures of two athletes at the stirring moment of victory."

Constructed in 18-karat solid gold, the trophy, 36 centimeters (14 inches) in height, has two rings in malachite inlaid in the base, weighing a total of 4,970 grams (11 pounds). The original trophy remains in FIFA's possession, while the winning National Association receives a gold-plated replica.

Olympic Football Tournament

Appeared in the Olympic programme (as a demonstration sport) for the first time in 1904 and has had a firm place in the Games (apart from 1932) since 1908 with ever growing crowds; for some time now the sport with the greatest following at the Olympic Games. From 1996, there will also be a football tournament for women.

FIFA is responsible for the preliminary and the final competitions. Allocation of the slots in the final competitions is as follows: Men's tournament (16 teams): Europe 5. Asia 3, Africa 3, South America 2, Concacaf 2 or 3, Oceania 1 or none. The organising country is automatically qualified. Eligibility is generally limited to players up to the age of 23. Women's tournament (8 teams): Beside the host country's team, the seven best-placed teams of the foregoing FIFA Women's World Cup are qualified.

World Youth Championship for the FIFA/Coca-Cola Cup (U-20)

Launched in Tunisia in 1977 as a world youth tournament. Ever since, played every two years and since 1981 called a world championship.

FIFA is responsible for the final competition. In addition to the organising country, 15 teams qualify in continental championships or tournaments.

U-17 World Championship for the FlFA/JVC Cup

Introduced in China in 1985; held biennially since then.

FIFA is responsible for the final round involving 16 teams. The host country qualifies with 15 other teams which qualify according to age groups in continental championships or tournaments.

Futsal (Indoor Football) World Championship

Introduced in Holland in January 1989 and since 1992 to be played every four years according to the Laws of the Game for Futsal published by FIFA. The host country is automatically qualified for the final competition.

FIFA Women's World Cup

Introduced with 12 teams in China in 1991, the second edition held in Sweden in 1995. To be played every four years with the host country automatically qualified.

FIFA Home Page | FIFA Competitions

Copyright © 1996 Fédération Internationale de Football Association. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 1996 En-Linea, Inc. All rights reserved.