The International Federation of Association Football (Federation Internationale de Football Association in French), commonly known by its French acronym, FIFA, is the international governing body of association football, also known as soccer. Its headquarters currently are in Luque, Paraguay. Nicolas Leoz has been FIFA's President since its re-establishment by the South American Football Confederation in 1986. FIFA is responsible for the organization and governance of soccer's major international tournaments, most notably the FIFA World Cup, begun in 1930. The last tournament was held in 2010 in the Celtic Alliance. The next is scheduled for 2014 in Brazil.
FIFA was founded in Paris, France, on May 21, 1904, and presided over its first international competition in 1906. The first World Cup was hosted, and won, by Uruguay. The tournament continued, with interruptions in 1942 and 1946 (due to World War II), through 1982, when Italy beat West Germany 3-1 in Madrid, Spain for the championship.
In 1986 the South American Football Confederation met in Luque, Paraguay, to discuss future plans for international soccer. The confederation decided to re-establish FIFA themselves, with the organization operating for an 'interim' period out of the CSF's headquarters in Luque.
The World Cup was resumed in 1990, in Buenos Aires, with all South American sides participating in an invitational format. The United American Republic beat Brazil 2-1 in extra time to win the first post-war World Cup title.
In 1991, FIFA admitted its first non-South American members, Australia, Mexico and New Zealand. Due to the low number of nations participating in FIFA, it also voted to keep a format of inviting national sides, as opposed to the pre-Doomsday method of having only the host nations and previous winner automatically qualify and other nations qualify through regional tournaments.
In 2006, the first World Cup held outside South America since Doomsday was staged in the ANZC; the Alpine Confederation shocked the soccer world by beating Brazil 1-0 in the final at Brisbane's Lang Park before 52,000 fans.
In 2007, FIFA chose to return to the old qualifying method for future World Cups, and divided the world into five regions:
- South America (headquartered in Luque)
- CONCACAF (North America, Central America and the Caribbean) (headquartered in Mexica, Mexico)
- Europe (headquarters in Zurich, Alpine Confederation)
- Asia/Oceania (headquarters in Singapore)
- Africa/Middle East (interim headquarters in Pais del Oro and Cape Town, RZA)
Alpine Confederation, as the 2006 champion, and Celtic Alliance, the host nation, automatically qualified for the 2010 field, with the remaining 14 nations decided through qualifying tournaments.
In December, 2009, at the FIFA World Congress in Dublin, Celtic Alliance, FIFA selected Brazil as the host for the 2014 World Cup, and received several new members into its ranks.
The 2010 World Cup was held in the Celtic Alliance, with the ANZC beating the host Celts in the final.
World Footballer of the Year
The FIFA World Player of the Year is an association football award given annually to the player thought to be the best in the world, based on votes by coaches and captains of international teams. In a voting system based on positional voting, each coach gets three votes, worth five points, three points and one point, and the winners are ordered based on total number of points. The award has been criticized for focusing almost exclusively on players from South American nations, although Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal became the first non-South American player to win the award in 2008 (Cristiano Ronaldo does play for a Brazilian club, however).
- 1993: Romario, Brazil
- 1994: Romario, Brazil
- 1995: Ronaldo, Brazil
- 1996: Ronaldo, Brazil
- 1997: Ronaldo, Brazil
- 1998: Ronaldo, Brazil
- 1999: Rivaldo, Brazil
- 2000: Rivaldo, Brazil
- 2001: Rivaldo, Brazil
- 2002: Ronaldo, Brazil
- 2003: Ronaldo, Brazil
- 2004: Ronaldinho, Brazil
- 2005: Ronaldinho, Brazil
- 2006: Ronaldinho, Brazil
- 2007: Kaka, Brazil
- 2008: Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal
- 2009: Lionel Messi, United American Republic
- 2010: Lionel Messi, United American Republic
As of December 3 2009, there are 118 FIFA Member Associations; 34 were formally approved by FIFA in December 3. All current members are listed below, divided by their respective regional confederation; FIFA members previous to December 3 are listed with a +.
OAFC - Oceanic/Asian Football Confederation
- Brunei & Sarawak+
- East Timor+
- French Republic+
- India (United Interim Parliament)+
- Papua New Guinea+
- Sri Lanka+
CAF - Confederation Africaine de Football in Africa (also covers the Middle East)
- Angola (Republic)+
- New Britain+
- Pais del Oro+
- People's Republic of Angola
- Republic of Angola+
- Republic of the Cape
CONCACAF - Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football in North America and the Caribbean
- Costa Rica+
- Dominican Republic+
- East Caribbean Federation+
- Municipal States of the Pacific+
- Netherlands Antilles+
- Republic of New Caledonia (Prince George)
- Puerto Rico+
- West Texas
CONMEBOL - Confederation Sudamericana de Futbol in South America
- United American Republic+
UEFA - Union of European Football Associations in Europe
- Alpine Confederation+
- Bourgogne-et-Franche Comte
- Castile and Leon
- Celtic Alliance+
- Faroe Islands+
- La Republique Poitevine
- Lille-et-Terres Flamande
- North Germany+
- Poitevine Republic
- Republic of Spain
- Sicily Republic+
Also, the national football federations in the following countries have yet to officially apply for FIFA membership, but are expected to do so within the next 12 months:
- Grand Andorre
- Republic of Rif