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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Centennial Celebration of Federation Internationale De Football Association (FIFA). (2004-8)

The Federation lnternationale de Football Association (FIFA) was founded in the rear of the headquarters of the Union Francaise de Sports Athletiques at the rue Saint Honore 229 in Paris on 21 May 1904. The foundation act was signed by the authorized representatives of the following Associations:

o France

o Belgium

o Denmark

o Netherlands

o Spain

o Sweden

o Switzerland

The First Official international matches took place on the continent at the beginning of the century. The idea of founding an international federation began taking form. In general, one intended recognizing the leading role of the English who had already founded their Football Association in 1863. Thus, Carl Anton Wilhelm Hirschmann, secretary of the Netherlands Football Association, turned to the Football Association. Its Secretary did accept the proposal but until the Executive Committee of the Football Association, the international F.A. Board and the Associations of Scotland, Wales and Ireland had given their opinion about the matter, a great deal of time went past. Robert Guerin, Secretary of the Football Department of the Union Francaise de Societes de Sports Athletiques and Journalist with the "Matin" did not want to wait any longer. He greeted the Football Associations on the continent in writing and asked to study the possibility of founding an umbrella organisation.

After an intensive exchange of correspondence, the first thoughts were made on the subject. Belgium faced France at the first official international match in Brussels on 1 May 1904. On that occasion, both Association secretaries Muhlinghaus and Guerin had a discussion. It was now definite that the Football Association, England under its President lord kinnaird would not be participating in the foundation of an international federation. So Robert Guerin took the opportunity and sent out invitations to the founding assembly. The services rendered by the founders were enormous. One began organising international football at a higher level.

The First FIFA statutes were laid down. The following points were determined; the reciprocal and exclusive recognition of the National Associations represented and attending; clubs and players were forbidden to play simultaneously for different National Associations; recognition by the other Associations of a player's suspension announced by an Association and the playing of matches according to the laws of the Game of the Football Association Ltd. Each National Association had to pay an annual fee of FF.50. Already in those days, one thought about staging a big competition and Article 9 stipulated that FIFA alone was entitled to take over the organisation of an international competition. It was decided that these regulations would only come into force as of 1 September 1904. Moreover, the first Statutes of FIFA were only of a provisional nature, in order to simplify the acceptance of additional members. The Deutscher Fussball-Bund (German F.A.) announced itself by cable on the foundation day still.

The first FIFA congress held two days later on 23 may 1904 elected Robert Guerin as President. Victor E. Schneider (Switzerland) and Carl Anton Wilhelm Hirschmann (Netherlands) were made Vice-Presidents. Louis Muhlinghaus (Belgium) was appointed Secretary and Treasurer, with the assistance of Ludvig Sylow (Denmark). These pioneers were faced with an immense task because FIFA only existed on paper so to speak. One had to give it shape, create Associations as true national representations and get hold of new members. In the first place, the English had to be convinced that their membership to this newly created organisation was indispensable.

The second FIFA Congress took place in Paris from 10 to 12 June 1905. In the meantime, the Associations from Germany, Austria, Italy and Hungary had joined FIFA; Scotland, Wales and Ireland would follow England's example. And one was already talking about an international competition to take place in 1906. It would consist of four groups and Switzerland would be in charge of organising the semi-finals and the Final. According to its meaning, one first thought of staging it with the best club teams. Moreover, the Swiss Vice President Victor Schneider had already donated a trophy.

The FIFA Executive Committee was elected for a further year in the same composition, but now the difficulties were accumulating. The first international competition was a failure. Various National Associations had other major worries. The French Football Association was split up internally. These difficulties were a heavy burden for the FIFA President who had set about his tasks with so much enthusiasm. Robert Guerin increasingly withdrew from the sports life and handed over the administratiot to his Vice-President Victor E. Schneider and Andre Espir, his personal assistant.

All the same, FIFA could now give a sign of its strength. When the "English Ramblers", an improvised English football club, wanted to play games on the continent without the authorization of the Football Association. FIFA forbade its members from playing against this team. The English who now had a good relationship with FIFA together with the 3 other British Associations, were particularly impressed by this strict and uncompromising procedure.

This was clearly revealed at the next Congress in Bern in 1906, Victor E. Schneider conducted negotiations in the absence of the FIFA President, Robert Guerin. The Englishman, Daniel Burley Woolfall was elected new President. He was a pragmatist and had gathered a great deal of experience on the administrative board of the Football Association. Under his guidance, English and continental football became more united. Moreover, he also launched an inexorable battle for uniformity in the laws of the Game.

The idea of having a major international competition was still up in the air and so the Football Association assumed the responsibility for the administration and organisation of a tournament that took place within the context of the Olympic Games in London in 1908. Some problems arose in the organisation, which were still unsolved four years later in 1912, when the tournament took place in Stockholm. The new, virtually unknown sport was regarded suspiciously at the Olympics and was considered as a show and not a competition.

Back in 1974, FIFA was also flexing its muscles in readiness for the tenth FIFA World Cup in those days, very much a trial of strength between Europe with nine teams and South America with four. The ripples created by political upheavals, particularly in Africa where many former colonies had been granted independence, were beginning to be noticed on the international sports scene. At that time Africa, Asia, and North/Central America and the Caribbean (CONCACAF) were each still sending one selection to the world's greatest football fiesta. For the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain, Havelange increased the table of competitors to twenty-four teams. Since that decision, the unqualified success of teams that used to be derided as also-rans has reinforced Havelange's notion that his policies were right. For the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France, the number of participating teams was increased to 32 finalists making it the largest in the history of the event, and allowing even greater participation from all its confederations.

Over the past twenty five years football has not only taken root as the world's major game in an ephemeral world but has also blossomed in other branches of society, commerce and politics. Football, more than any other factor, has enveloped whole regions, people and nations. With approximately two hundred million active players it now constitutes a substantial chunk of the leisure industry, having opened up new markets for itself and for the rest of the business world.

The potential has yet to be exhausted, especially in Asia and North America. As of mid-2000, FIFA has grown to include 204 member associations, thus making it one of the biggest and certainly the most popular sports federation in the world.

On, 8 June 1998 Joseph S. Blatter (Switzerland) was elected as the successor to Joao Havelange (Brazil) as the eighth FIFA president. This victory at the 51st FIFA Ordinary Congress in Paris (France) elevated Joseph S. Blatter, who had already served FIFA in various positions for twenty-three years, onto the highest rank in international football. Joseph S. Blatter is one of the most versatile and experienced exponents of international sport diplomacy and is totally committed to serving football, FIFA and the world's youth.

The history of football in Pakistan is as old as the country itself, with the establishment of Pakistan in 1947 the PAKISTAN FOOTBALL FEDERATION came into existence on 5th December, 1947. Quaid-e- Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah father of nation - was graciously pleased to become its patron-in-Chief and the PAKISTAN FOOTBALL FEDERATION was recognized by the International Football Association (i.e. FIFA) in early 1948. The PAKISTAN FOOTBALL FEDERATION had a chequered career to start with and in 1950 the general meeting of the council, the Federation was recognized and put on proper footing with Alhaj Khawaja Shahabuddin, as its President. Wing Commander H.A. Soofi was unanimously elected as the Secretary. The game was organized with the National Championship being held annually. Pakistan for the first time in 1950 sent a national team to Iran and Iraq to gain experience at the international level. In 1954 Pakistan participated in Asia Games at manila and also toured the Far East. Pakistan became the founder member of Asian Football Confederation in May 1954. In 1958 Pakistan again took part in the Tokyo Asian Games. Pakistan also had been taking part in the annual Asian Quadrangular Tournament. Pakistan's participation in International competitions has been regular. Football has scored to new heights in the world especially in the European and Latin American countries. Many changes have been made in the technique. Today, a football match between two balanced sides is considered to be the most exciting spectacle on a sports field. Professionalism has given football new dimensions. But in Pakistan the standard of football had not acquired the moving upwards trend due to amateur approach. PAKISTAN FOOTBALL FEDERATION is now trying to bring professional approach in the game. This will help to raise the standard of football in Pakistan. The recent corporatelprofessional approach introduced by the new set up of Federation has started giving positive results. Winning of 9th SAF Games Football trophy by Pakistan is a clear indicative of this fact. Date of Issue (May 21, 2004)