The International Federation of Association Football , commonly famous by the acronym FIFA (usual English pronunciation: /ˈfiːfə/), is the international governing body of association football. Its headquarters are placed in Zürich, Switzerland, and its current president is Sepp Blatter. FIFA is responsible for the organization and governance of football's most important international tournaments, most notably the FIFA World Cup, held since 1930.
The need for a only body to oversee the game became apparent at the beginning of the 20th century with the rising popularity of international fixtures. FIFA was founded in Paris on 21 May 1904; the French name and acronym remain, even outside French-speaking countries. The founding members were the national associations of Belgium, Denmark, France, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Also, that same day, the German Association declared its intention of affiliating through a telegram.
The first president of FIFA was Robert Guérin. Guérin was replaced in 1906 by Daniel Burley Woolfall from England, by then a member organization. The next tournament staged, the football competition for the 1908 Olympics in London was more successful, despite the presence of professional footballers, contrary to the founding principles of FIFA.
Membership of FIFA expanded beyond Europe with the application of South Africa in 1908, Argentina and Chile in 1912, and Canada and the United States in 1913.
During World War 1st, with many players sent off to war and the possibility of journey for international fixtures severely limited, there were few international fixtures, and the organization’s survival was in doubt. Post-war, following the death of Woolfall, the organization was run by Dutchman Carl Hirschmann. It was saved from extinction, but at the cost of the withdrawal of the Home Nations (of the United Kingdom), who cited an unwillingness to participate in international competitions with their recent World War enemies. The Home Nations later resumed their membership.
The FIFA collection is held by the National Football Museum in England.
FIFA is an association established under the Laws of Switzerland. Its headquarters are in Zurich.
FIFA's supreme body is the FIFA Congress, an assembly made up of representatives from each affiliated member association. The Congress assembles in ordinary session once every year and, additionally, extraordinary sessions have been held once a year since 1998. Only the Congress can pass changes to FIFA's statutes.
Congress elects the President of FIFA, its General Secretary and the other members of FIFA's Executive Committee. The President and General Secretary are the main officeholders of FIFA, and are in charge of its daily administration, carried out by the General Secretariat, with its staff of approximately 280 members.
FIFA's Executive Committee, chaired by the President, is the main decision-making body of the organisation in the intervals of Congress. FIFA's worldwide organisational structure also consists of several other bodies, under authority of the Executive Committee or created by Congress as standing committees. Among those bodies are the Finance Committee, the Disciplinary Committee, the Referees Committee, etc.
Aside from its worldwide institutions (presidency, Executive Committee, Congress, etc.) there are six confederations recognised by FIFA which oversee the game in the different continents and regions of the world. National associations, and not the continental confederations, are members of FIFA. The continental confederations are provided for in FIFA's statutes. National associations must claim membership to both FIFA and the confederation in which their nation is geographically resident for their teams to qualify for entry to FIFA's competitions