What is FIFA?

SoccerFIFA is the abbreviation of Fédération Internationale de Football Association. It is the organization which governs football and beach soccer. The organization is mainly responsible for organizing the world largest international football tournament, namely the World Cup. This article will address the history as well as the structure of the organization. This article will also explore the topic of corruption since FIFA has often been associated with corruption.


It was at the beginning  of the twentieth century that it became necessary for an international football association to oversee the international football competitions. During this time the international fixtures became increasingly popular. FIFA was officially established in 1904 in Paris. The English translation of the full name of the organization is the International Federation of Association Football. The organization was founded by a few national football associations. It was founded by the associations of Belgium, France, Denmark, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland. The first president of the organization was Robert Guerin. The Frenchman was replaced by Daniel Burley a couple of years ago, who was originally from the United Kingdom. A couple of years after FIFA was established more countries joined the organization. The countries joining the organization were not limited to only European countries but were countries from around the globe. In 1909 South Africa joined the organization. Argentina joined FIFA in 1912 and Chile and Canada became part of the association the year after. Also  the United States became part of FIFA in 1914. The collection of FIFA is currently held by the National Football Museum in Manchester in the United Kingdom. The first World Cup which was organization by FIFA was held in Montevideo in Uruguay. This World Cup, which was held in 1930, was a great success and set the base for the many international football tournaments to follow.


The headquarter of FIFA is located in Zurich, in Switzerland. The organization has also been established under the Law of Switzerland and is therefore bound by its rules. The supreme body of the association is called the FIFA Congress. This Congress is made up of representatives of different member associations. Each national football association which is part of FIFA has one vote. Whether an association has a vote is not depending on the size of the association or the country or the strength of the national football. The FIFA Congress comes together once every year in an ordinary session. Extraordinary sessions are also held once a year. These extraordinary sessions have been introduced since 1998 and have since been held on an annual basis. The FIFA Congress makes decisions regarding to the governing structure of FIFA and the way FIFA implements and applies its policies. If an amendment wants to be introduced to one of FIFA’s statutes it has to pass through the Congress in order for the change to be accepted by the national football associations. Moreover, the FIFA Congress also holds elections and decides whether new national football associations can join the Congress. Also, the Congress elects the head of the organization. The Congress does not only elect the FIFA President, but also elects the General Secretary and the other members of the FIFA Council. These elections are held the year after the FIFA World Cup. The Executive Committee is the body which is considered to be the main decision-making body. The Executive Committee is chaired by the FIFA President and is composed by a total of 24 people. The President, the eight Vice Presidents and 15 members make up the Executive Committee of the association. The Executive Committee is also the body which decides where the World Cup will be held. The President, together with the General Secretary hold main offices in FIFA and they are the ones who are in charge of the daily administration of the organization. The current FIFA President is Gianni Infantino. He was  appointed as FIFA President in February 2016. Gianni Infantino was elected as President after former Sepp Blatter was suspended as former FIFA President due to a corruption investigation. This topic will be addressed later on in this article.


The rules and laws that govern the game of football are officially called the Laws of the Game. These laws are not only the responsibility of the International Federation of Association Football. They are also governed by the International Football Association Board, also referred to as IFAB. They officially maintain the so-called Laws of the Game. The International Football Association Board has members on this board. These members are part of the football associations of the United Kingdom, namely of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The representatives of these association established the International Football Association Board in 1882. The association is internationally recognized as being the creator of the game of football. If changes want to be made to the official Laws of the Game, it is necessary for at least six of the eight delegates to agree to these proposed changes in order for the changes to be processed. FIFA continuously tried to improve the game of football and often introduces new changes to the Laws of the Game. The statutes of FIFA are the overarching documents which guide FIFA’s governing system in general. As explained earlier in this article, the governing system of FIFA is divided in different smaller bodies which have the power to create balances and checks depending on the responsibility. The four general bodies of the organization are the FIFA Congress, the Executive Committee, the General Secretariat and different ad-hoc committees. FIFA also takes an active role in developing the game of football around the globe. In order to make sure that all teams have equal opportunities and comply by the rules set by FIFA and IFAB, FIFA can suspend teams. They can ban them from international competitions when, for example, a representative of a government interferes with FIFA regulations.


FIFA and its international tournaments are sponsored by some of the leading multinationals in the world. The FIFA World Cup is considered to be one of the most effective international marketing platforms. The international tournament does not only reach millions of people in over 200 countries around the globe, but also brings a certain atmosphere which is only associated with the World Cup. One of the visions often represented during the World Cup is unity. Countries from all over the world are brought together for a sport and all players are considered to be equal, despite their background, ethnicity or religion. This feeling of unity and belonging is also represented in the commercials. For example, one of the leading sponsors of FIFA’s international competitions is Coca Cola. Coca Cola is known for having creative advertisements and commercials. However, during the World Cup and other international tournaments, the vision of unity is often represented during its commercials to reflect the sphere of the World Cup. Besides Coca Cola, Adidas and VISA are also some of the biggest sponsors of the World Cup. Their commercials are often shown during half-time and their logos are also visible during football matches. A few other major sponsors of international tournaments are Gazprom, Hyundai, Kia Motors and Wanda Group.


FIFA is often criticized for being a corrupt organization and a lot of controversies have been caused over the years. The first allegations of corruption started in May 2006. During this time a British news reporter wrote a book about potential corruption within the organization. He caused controversy within the world of football when he wrote about cash-for-contracts transfers after the collapse of the International Sport and Leisure organization. At the time, this was FIFA’s main marketing partner. In this book the reported also highlighted the first vote-rigging which occurred under the presidency of Sepp Blatter. After the book was released more controversies were caused and more allegations came up. More reporters wrote about FIFA and their practices and different investigations were set up to analyze the practices of FIFA and its members. One of tournaments which is highly criticized is the World Cup. Different investigators have accused FIFA of requiring host bidding nations to introduce special laws in their country if they would host the World Cup. For example, some of these laws introduce tax exemption for FIFA and its sponsors and the limitation of workers’ rights. The governments of these nations were also asked to keep this information confidential during the bidding process for the World Cup. However, this information came to the attention of researchers when the Dutch government refused to accept the rules imposed by FIFA. After this investigation, more investigations have been introduced to research the practices of FIFA. For example, Joao Havelange, who was the honorary president of FIFA, was accused of bribery. It was said that he accepted a total of one million dollars from ISL as a bribe. One of the biggest investigations on FIFA started in 2014 by the sports writer Dave Zirin. Dave Zirin did not only say that FIFA should be abolished for the good of the game of football, but also said that FIFA is linked to greed and corruption. This is not only limited to the board members of the organization but also continues to the lower-ranking officials of the organization. It was in February 2016 that Sepp Blatter was forced to step down as president of FIFA since he was accused of corruption and bribery.


FIFA organizes different international tournaments. However, the association is probably best known for organizing the FIFA World Cup and the FIFA Confederations Cup. FIFA also organizes World Cup’s for both men and women under the age of 20 and a tournament for players under the age of 17. The FIFA World Cup is organized once every four years. As mentioned earlier, the Executive Committee is the body of FIFA which decides where the tournament will be held. The World Cup  of 2014 was organized in Brazil. During this tournament, Germany won the title. The competition involves a qualification phase. This means that not all teams automatically play in the World Cup but have to play against other teams to quality for the actual tournament. The qualification phase takes place over a period of three years. A total of 32 teams qualify for the actual World Cup. The host country automatically qualifies for the tournament. A total of 20 World Cup tournaments have been played so far. These tournaments have been won by eight different nations. Brazil is the country which won the most tournaments. They won a total of five World Cups. They are also the team which have played in all the international tournaments. Both Italy and Germany have won a total of four competitions. Uruguay and Argentina have also won the World Cup twice. Spain, France and England are the nations which have all won the World Cup once since the tournament has been introduced.


Article written by: SarahAjaoud
Times read: 1656x
Added: 18-08-2016 00:48
Last modified: 20-08-2016 12:16

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