On 21 May 2014 FIFA celebrates its 110th birthday, marking eleven decades since its birth at a meeting in Paris. It is preparing to kick off its next one in style more than 9,000km away in Brazil, with the next instalment of the FIFA World Cup tantalisingly close
"Today, we are celebrating a very special and unique anniversary because exactly 110 years ago today, FIFA was founded by the associations of France, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain (Real Madrid), Sweden and Switzerland at Rue St. Honoré 229 in Paris," FIFA President Blatter said in a letter to the 209 member associations. "The gentlemen who were present that day bestowed upon FIFA a number of objectives that were clear, essential and yet very simple: develop football, organise international competitions, settle disputes. To this day, our fundamental principles remain the same."
Since its inception FIFA has not only been about football on the field, but about the sport’s impact on society at large. So, to mark reaching this milestone, FIFA.com reflects on some of the key footballing events – both inside and outside the confines of the pitch – at the start of each of the 12 decades of FIFA's existence.
1904: FIFA’s creation
The founding members of FIFA – France, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland – are all represented at the Union Française de Sports Athlétiques in Paris, though without the presence of the English FA, as had originally been hoped. The first FIFA Statutes were born and each national association was required to pay an annual membership fee of 50 French Francs.
1914: Brazilian football comes together, football played on the battle fields
What would become the most successful international team in football began its organised life under the newly formed Federação Brasileira de Sports, though it was another nine years until they become FIFA-affiliated. On the other side of the world football’s ability to bring people together arguably had its greatest – though sadly short-lived – triumph. Opposing German and British soldiers lay down their arms during 'the Christmas truce' on 24 December, where an impromptu match was played during the First World War.
1924: Uruguay take gold, set 1930 expectations
The fourth Olympic Football Tournament to be played, the 1924 competition in Paris was the biggest yet with 22 participants. It was dominated and won by a classy Uruguay side, who would go on to repeat the feat in the inaugural FIFA World Cup™ six years later. Scoring 22 times in six games, after their 3-0 win over Switzerland they were celebrated as world champions back in Montevideo.
1934: First World Cup in Europe, first World Cup on radio
Italy were chosen ahead of Sweden to be the first host of a World Cup in Europe during its second edition, with teams needing to negotiate qualifiers to be one of the 16 at the finals. Much like the 1930 edition, the Jules Rimet Cup went to the hosts, as Italy defeated Czechoslovakia 2-1 after extra-time – with game being broadcast by radio for the first time
1944: War takes focus, British nations return
The Second World War saw football, in its organised-form, largely put on hold, but such was its global popularity there a numerous references to its use as means to boost morale for all from those at home, to troops fighting and prisoners of war. It was not until 1946 when the first post-war FIFA Congress took place, and it welcomed back the British associations after an almost two-decade long absence.
1954: Maiden German triumph, miracles in Switzerland
Despite there having already been four World Cups by the time of Switzerland 1954, there had only been two champions crowned thus far, but the duopoly of Italy and Uruguay was broken spectacularly by West Germany in a match remembered as 'the Miracle of Berne'. Facing an ominous Hungarian side, whose 31-game unbeaten run had seen them acquire the moniker of the Mighty Magyars, West Germany were 2-0 down after eight minutes. So saw the greatest comeback in World Cup Final history, as the Hungarians were beaten 3-2, with Helmut Rahn scoring twice.
1964: Congress admits 20 African countries, FIFA enjoy's biggest-ever expansion
Prior to 1960 just five African associations were members of FIFA, but before even the mid-point of that decade that number had rocketed. Eight more had joined by 1962, with Guinea's admittance bringing up the number of FIFA members to 100. However, the 34th FIFA Congress in Tokyo two years later saw an incredible 20 African associations admitted, which to date remains the largest influx of new members in FIFA's history.
1974: A new trophy presented, Germany crowned again
The tenth World Cup brought about a new trophy – the one that is still presented to the winners today – after Brazil's third tournament victory in 1970 saw them keep the Jules Rimet Cup. Of 54 designs submitted, it was that of Italian artist Silvio Gazzaniga whose entry was accepted. West Germany were the first to lift it, triumphing on home soil with a 2-1 final win over the Netherlands thanks to goals from Paul Breitner and Gerd Muller.
1984: FIFA is sport's biggest federation, women compete in Europe
With FIFA's ranks now at 150, with 16 members in waiting, it could now be seen as the largest sports federation in the world. To mark its 80th anniversary, a special rematch of the 1982 World Cup final was organised, seeing West Germany defeat holders Italy 1-0. Elsewhere on the continent, the European Competition for Women's Football was hosted by UEFA for the first time, seeing future FIFA Women's Football Coach of the Year Pia Sundhage help Sweden to victory.
1994: Havelange re-elected, shoot-out returns Brazil to the top
FIFA President Dr Joao Havelange, after twenty years at the helm, was re-elected for his final term in 1994. He helped expand football to the four corners of the planet, seeing the number of World Cup finalists from Asia, Africa, CONCACAF and Oceania quadruple by France 1998 from the three teams at Germany 1974. The year also saw the first time a World Cup was decided on penalties, with Brazil triumphing over Italy at USA 1994 in a dramatic shoot-out .
2004: 100 years of FIFA
To mark its centennial, FIFA returned to Paris to hold the 54th FIFA Congress. More than 1,400 guests were in attendance at a huge event that encompassed an exhibition at the Louvre art gallery, an awards ceremony and the induction its 205th member, New Caledonia. There were also two special matches played at the Stade de France featuring a repeat of the 1998 World Cup final, between France and Brazil, and a FIFA Women's World Stars beat reigning women's world champions Germany.
2014: Brazil beckons, support hits one billion
The beginning of FIFA's twelfth decade is an exciting one, with Brazil 2014 set to begin, seeing the world's biggest single sport event return to what many see is the spiritual home of football for the first time in 64 years. It has also seen FIFA's direct financial support programmes – put into place by FIFA President Blatter in 1999 – broke the USD 1 billion mark.