Establishment of FIFA
With the number of inter-nation matches increasing as football spread, the need for a global governing body emerged. Initially, it was intended to reflect the formative role of the British in football's history, but the football associations of the Home Nations unanimously rejected such a body. This was led by rejection from Football Association president Lord Kinnaird. Thus the nations of continental Europe decided to go it alone and 'FIFA' was born in Paris, uniting the Football Associations of France, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
The initial statutes of FIFA which came into effect on 1 September 1904, stated that:
1. Only the represented National Associations would be recognised.
2. Clubs and players could only play for two National Associations at a time.
3. All Associations would recognise the suspension of a player in any Association.
4. Matches were to be played according to the "Laws of the Game of the Football Association Ltd".
5. Each National Association was to pay an annual fee of 50 French Francs.
6. Only FIFA could organise International Matches.
The first FIFA Congress was held on 23 May 1904– Robert Guérin was elected President.
Robert Guérin (1876 – 1952) was a French journalist and the 1st President and founder of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association. A journalist with Le Matin newspaper, Guerin was actively involved in football through his role as secretary of the Football Department of the Union des Sociétés Françaises de Sports Athlétiques. He brought together representatives of the first seven member countries in Paris for the signing of FIFA's foundation act and agreement of the first FIFA statutes. On 22 May 1904, Guerin - then just 28 - was elected president at the inaugural FIFA Congress and remained in his post for two years, during which time another eight associations came on board, including the English Football Association.
Daniel Burley Woolfall (1906 – 1918)
Daniel Burley Woolfall (June 15, 1852 - October 24, 1918) was an English FA administrator from Blackburn, Woolfall was elected as president on 4 June 1906. A key aim during his presidency was to achieve uniform football rules on an international level and he played a prominent role in the drafting of FIFA's new constitution. Under Woolfall, the application of the Laws of the Game, established under the English model, became compulsory and a clear definition was made of international matches. Two years after assuming the presidency, he helped to organise the first noteworthy international football competition, the 1908 Olympic Games in London. His tenure as president brought the arrival of FIFA's first non-European members in South Africa, Argentina, Chile and the United States but was interrupted by the outbreak of the First World War. Woolfall's presidency ended with his death in October 1918.
Jules Rimet (1921 – 1954)
Jules Rimet (1873 – 1956) was a French football administrator. He was FIFA's longest serving president, having served for 33 years. Rimet was involved in the founding of FIFA in 1904, and while the fledgling organization had plans for a global professional tournament, it instead was involved in running an amateur tournament as part of the 1908 Summer Olympics. The First World War put Rimet's and FIFA's plans on hold. Rimet served in the French Army as an officer and was decorated with a Croix de Guerre. He served as the president of the French Football Federation from 1919 to 1946. On Rimet's initiative, the first FIFA World Cup was held in 1930. In his years as FIFA President, he took the membership of the organization from twelve up to 85 nations. Following the Second World War, the British football associations agreed to take part from the 1950 World Cup onwards, where Rimet himself handed over the trophy to a triumphant Uruguayan team when they won the tournament for the second time. Rimet's efforts in establishing the tournament earned him a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize 1956. The Jules Rimet Trophy, a trophy for FIFA World Cup Champions between 1958 and 1974, was named in his honour. He also founded the French football club Red Star Saint-Ouen. In 2004 he was posthumously made a member of the FIFA Order of Merit.
Rodolphe Seeldrayers (1954 – 1955)
Rodolphe William Seeldrayers (1876 - 1955) was a Belgian sport journalist. He was actively involved in the official associations of Belgian sports. At 19, he was one of the founders of the Union royale belge des Sociétés de football association (URBSFA), of which he was the treasurer for four years and the Executive Counsel for 25 years. In 1914, the Union used his talents as an orator and named him delegate to FIFA, of which he was made Vice-President in 1927. In 1899, Seeldrayers began a career as a sports journalist with the magazine "Sporting life”, Ten years later, he founded the National Committee for Physical Education which merged with the Belgian Olympic Committee. He became head of the committee beginning in 1946. In 1920, he was Technical Secretary of the Olympic Games at Anvers, and would be a member of the appeals jury for soccer at the Olympic games several times. Under his Presidency of FIFA, he handled with the problem of amateurism and professionalism conceptual status. R.W. Seeldrayers died a year after his election as president of FIFA
Arthur Drewry (1955 – 1961)
Arthur Drewry (1891 - 1961) was a former English director of Grimsby club, serving as FIFA president from 1955 to 1961. He was elected as President on June 7, 1955 at the FIFA Conference in Lisbon where he succeeded Rodolphe William Seeldrayers from Belgium who had only been President for 15 months following the death of Jules Rimet. Drewry was also chairman of the Football Association from 1955 to 1961 and had been president of the Football League and a director of Grimsby Town. Drewry's is famous for his role in the England v United States game in which the English lost to the rank outsiders in the 1950 FIFA World Cup in Belo Horizonte. Although Walter Winterbottom was the coach of the side, Drewry, acting as sole selector, picked the team which lost.
Sir Stanley Ford Rous, CBE (1895 – 1986) was an international referee and English football administrator. He also served as secretary of the Football Association from 1934 to 1962. He rose to the top tier of the game when he was appointed to referee the 1934 FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium. He then moved into the sphere of football administration. During his time as FIFA President, Rous witnessed the crowning of England as Champions of the World in 1966. He was also known for his avid support for Apartheid era-South African Association. Upon his retirement as president, on 11 June 1974, he was nominated Honorary President of FIFA. He wrote A History of the Laws of Association Football which was published in 1974.
João Havelange (1974 – 1998)
Jean-Marie Faustin Goedefroid de Havelange (born 1916), more commonly known as João Havelange, was a Brazilian lawyer. After becoming Vice-President of the Brazilian Sports Confederation, he served as President of the Confederation from 1958 to 1973. João Havelange served as a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) from 1963 to 2011. He was the longest serving active member upon his resignation. Havelange became the first non-European to hold the post of FIFA President. Under Havelange's presidency the FIFA World Cup expanded from 16 to 32 teams, with Havelange overseeing six world cups during his time in office. The FIFA U-17 World Cup, FIFA U-20 World Cup, FIFA Confederations Cup and FIFA Women's World Cup were all introduced under his tenure. He has won several awards, such as Cavalier of the Légion d'Honneur (France), the Order of Special Merit in Sports (Brazil), Commander of the Cavaliers of the Order of Infante D. Henrique (Portugal), Cavalier of the Vasa Orden (Sweden) and the Grand Cross of Elizabeth the Catholic (Spain). In 1998, he was elected FIFA's president of honor. A stadium built for the 2007 Pan American Games was named Estádio Olímpico João Havelange in tribute to Havelange. Also, Estádio Parque do Sabiá's formal name honors him.
Sepp Blatter (1998 – Present)
Joseph "Sepp" Blatter (born 10 March 1936) is a Swiss football administrator. Since 1975, Blatter has been working at FIFA, first as Technical Director (1975–1981), then General Secretary (1981–1998). Under his presidency, the policy to rotate the host nation of FIFA World Cup between continents around the World was created, The silver goal replaced the golden goal rule in extra time of play-off matches, Since the 2002 World Cup, the current World Cup champion no longer automatically qualifies for the next World Cup finals, In 2007, Blatter decided that no football matches will be played above 2500 metres (8200 ft) above sea level but his refusal to allow goal-line technology or video replays is one of the most controversies. Blatter has been involved in a wide range of humanitarian projects. His awards are Recipient of the 'Global Award for Peace' awarded by the International Amateur Athletic Association Humane Order of African Redemption, Honorary title of 'Datuk Seri' from the Sultan of Pahang and former President of the Asian Football Confederation, Sultan Ahmad Shah of Pahang.