4 Jun /18


FIFA – Word of the day – EVS Translations
FIFA – Word of the day – EVS Translations

FIFA or the Fédération internationale de football association (French for International Federation of Association Football) is, by no surprise, the international sport governing body of association football, aka soccer, but it is also one of the oldest and largest NGOs.

And as this year’s FIFA World Cup is set to start in two weeks in Russia, let us take a look at the history behind it.

Three decades after the first official match between two nations (England and Scotland), held in 1872, the popularity of football games between national teams increased to the level where the need for a governing body to regulate the worldwide game resulted in the signing of FIFA’s founding act (on 21 May 1904, in Paris, France) by the authorised representatives of football associations from Belgium, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland, followed by the first official international match between Belgium and France (on 1 May) and the first, fairly unsuccessful and met with little interest, international competition that FIFA presided two years later.

FIFA expanded beyond Europe after soccer gained significant attention at the 1908 Olympics in London, where an official Olympic football tournament between national representative selections was contested for the first time with 8 teams officially signing up, with two (Hungary and Bohemia) withdrawing before the start and Great Britain winning the gold.

Consecutively, FIFA began to preside Olympic football matches and as the interest was significantly high, at its Amsterdam 1928 Congress, the organisation decided that it is time to set up its own event; and thus the idea for the World Cup was born.

The host country for the first world championship organised by FIFA became Uruguay (the winner of the 1928 Olympics), where in 1930 – 13 teams competed (7 from South America, 4 from Europe and 2 from North America) and the host country became the champion.

During the World Wars, FIFA World Cup floundered to revive back in a post-war configuration, where in 1946 the 25th FIFA Congress re-elected the four British football associations to membership, while expelling Germany and Japan from membership. The press report on the event, published in The Times, became (according to the Oxford English Dictionary) the first official media to highlight the organisation. And the strong re-introduction of the World Cup, held in 1950, in Brazil, followed. 4 years later, there were 84 countries affiliated to FIFA and playing football accordingly to exactly the same laws.

Today, FIFA’s membership comprises 211 national associations and though its headquarters are in Switzerland, the organisation is often blamed for not keeping neutrality and its high revenue is linked to inappropriate practises. But regardless and nevertheless, the 21st FIFA World Cup will soon turn the world into football, and we can all come together to celebrate the beauty of THE game.