The 50th Ordinary FIFA Congress, held in Zurich on 3rd and 4th July 1996, was attended by delegates from 182 countries and numerous guests from all over the World.

The President of FIFA, Dr. João Havelange, and General Secretary Joseph S. Blatter had chaired the session steadily and expeditiously, and after a good four hours the anniversary congress came to an end on Thursday afternoon. Just before the end, as the final act of the congress, João Havelange had the pleasure and privilege of announcing the names of four new honorary members, Dr. Henry Fok (Hongkong), Poul Hyldgaard (Denmark), Leon Londoño (Colombia) and Sir Arthur George (Australia) .

The actual business proceedings have been extensively reported in the press and in FIFA News. The cultural events too will remain vividly alive in the memories of all the delegates from 182 countries and the numerous guests from home and abroad. The first day was dominated by the ceremony in the Tonhalle of Zurich's Kongresshaus with the official welcome, a fantastic musical programme from the Iasi State Philharmonic from Rumania and, of course, the traditional presentation of the FIFA Order of Merit.

Those honoured in this year form an extremely prominent and illustrious list of personalities, all of whom have done great service for football and who have now been rightly recognised and honoured for their efforts. Below we present the nine men who received the FIFA Order of Merit this year.

Dr Henry Kissinger
The former US Secretary of State (1973-1977) and Nobel Peace Prize winner (1977) was born in FFCrth, Germany in 1923. At the age of 15 he fled the Nazi regime by moving to the United States, and was naturalised as a US citizen in 1943. After serving in the US army for three years, he earned a PhD at Harvard University. He remained there, teaching Government and International Affairs until 1969 when his career as a statesman began. Throughout his illustrious career, Henry Kissinger has retained the devotion to football which he brought with him from Germany to America.

In awarding Dr. Henry Kissinger the Order of Merit, FIFA acknowledges a man whose support for football from the high-profile position of his public office has contributed greatly to raising its visibility and credibility in the United States. It also honours the part he played in ensuring the success of the 1994 World Cup in the USA.

Hailed as the "new Pelé", no footballer has come so close to realising that ultimate recognition as Arthur Antunes Coimbra - Zico.

Like Pelé, he wore the number 10 shirt for Brazil; like Pelé, he scored and created countless goals. He spent most of his playing career with Flamengo, eventually becoming their top goal scorer of all time. Zico was born in Rio de Janeiro on March 3, 1953. He starred in three World Cups and won many national and international titles, gaining the respect of the international football community for his talent and fairness.

After finishing his playing career in Japan, Zico served as the Brazilian Secretary of Sports for 13 months from 1990 to 1991, enabling him to introduce the so-called Zico Law for the benefit of football and other sports in Brazil.

This commitment is characteristic of a man who was always a team player. His stunning football skills and his sense of social responsibility have made Zico an idol, just like his illustrious predecessor.

Bobby Moore
Almost 30 years ago to the day, Bobby Moore, the Golden Boy of English football, was at the peak of his career, having received the Jules Rimet trophy from Her Majesty the Queen after that memorable World Cup Final in 1966. Robert Frederick Moore, born in east London on April 12, 1941 had risen through the ranks of his local club, West Ham United. He played in three World Cups and made a record 108 appearances for his country, 91 times as captain.

Bobby Moore was an outstanding athlete, unrivalled in his ability to read the game, fearless and flawless in the tackle and a model of fair play. In February 1993 he finally succumbed to the serious illness which he had borne silently and courageously for many years. The posthumous Order of Merit received by his wife Stephanie pays tribute to his outstanding personality.

Robert Louis-Dreyfus
The appointment of Robert Louis-Dreyfus as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the adidas company in April 1993 ensured the healthy continuation of the 20 year relationship between FIFA and this company.

Robert Louis-Dreyfus was born in 1947 and studied at Harvard University from 1971 to 1973. After working for various companies, including Saatchi and Saatchi in London, his attachment to sport led him to adidas. At this difficult time, he succeeded not only in introducing stability but also in reasserting the company's leading position in the football merchandise industry. In honouring him with the Order of Merit for his exceptional personal contribution, FIFA is also honouring once again the memory of Horst Dassler and the company which both men have led and which remains a special partner of FIFA.

Farouk Bouzo
Born on March 3, 1938, Farouk Bouzo spent some years playing in the Syrian first division before becoming a referee in 1958. In 1969 he earned his FIFA referee's badge and in 1980 he began his career as a referee instructor for the Referees' Committee of the Asian Football Confederation, becoming its Chairman in 1986. He became General Secretary of the Syrian Football Association in 1976 until his election to its presidency in 1982, and since 1980 he has served on the Executive Committee of the Arab Union Football Federation.

His career as a referee and his experience as a referee instructor, with over one hundred courses to his name in all parts of the world, have made him a leading expert on the interpretation and application of the Laws of the Game. He has become internationally respected within the domain of refereeing and this acclaim has reflected well on his country - where he made his career in the Air Force - on his region and his continent.

Salif Keita
Not only is Salif Keita the most prominent footballer to have emerged from his home country Mali, he is also one of the greatest figures in the history of the game throughout the African continent.

Born on December 6, 1946, Salif Keita had a model career as a football player in France, Spain, Portugal and the United States. Along the way, he collected many titles in various countries, becoming the first African footballer to be voted the best foreign player in France. This accolade came in 1971 when he also became Europe's second most prolific goal scorer, scoring 42 goals in one season.

Keita's management career has demonstrated the same success as his sporting career and he is now president of a sports centre in Bamako. The centre bears his name: Salif Keita - one of the men who have written the story of African football.

Javier Arriaga Muñiz
In 1964, Javier Arriaga Muñiz was appointed to the Refereeing Committee of the Mexican Football Association, and since 1968 he has been the Chairman of the CONCACAF Refereeing Committee. A year later he was nominated to the FIFARefereeing Committee, of which he remained a member until 1990.

Born on May 26, 1932 in Mexico, Javier Arriaga Muñiz worked not only for the improvement of refereeing standards around the world, but especially for the good of refereeing in his home association. His selfless work has benefited referees and refereeing throughout North and Central America and for three decades he also contributed enormously to the standard of refereeing throughout the world.

Doug Ivester
Since 1994, Mr Douglas Ivester has been President and Chief operating Officer of the Coca-Cola Company, one of world football's most active and loyal sponsors over the past two decades or more.

Doug Ivester's long attachment to sport has been reflected in his support for the sports sponsorship programmes of the Coca-Cola Company, especially its involvement in the 1994 World Cup in the United States. This support has also extended to the FIFA World Youth Championship, to European football and to events such as the Tour de France and the Olympic Games.

Since becoming President and Director of the Coca-Cola Company, Mr Ivester has repeatedly reconfirmed his company's commitment to supporting the programmes and development projects of FIFA. It is in grateful recognition of this continuing support that FIFA bestowed upon Doug Ivester the Order of Merit.

Maurice Burlaz
Maurice Burlaz, born in Paris in 1921, is a champion of the ideals of amateur football. His attachment to amateur football inspired him in 1965 to take up the cause of the amateur game against the domination of the professional sector. His other special area of interest lies in youth football, as best reflected in his chairmanship of the Youth Football Committee of the FFF from 1969 to 1981.

From 1984 to 1995 Maurice Burlaz was also Vice-President of the French Federation. His exceptional knowledge and experience have been put at the disposal of the game beyond his national frontiers through his membership of the UEFA Youth Committee, of which he has been vice-chairman since 1982. The FIFA Order of Merit is an acknowledgement of the tireless work done by him in the service of our sport.