The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (International Federation of Association Football), commonly known by its acronym, FIFA (usual English pronunciation: /ˈfiːfə/), is the international governing body of association football. Its headquarters are located in Zürich, Switzerland, and its current president is Gianni Infantino. FIFA is responsible for the organization and governance of football’s major international tournaments, most notably the FIFA World Cup, held since 1930.
FIFA has 208 member associations, which is 16 more than the United Nations and three more than the International Olympic Committee, though five fewer than the International Association of Athletics Federations.
The need for a single body to oversee the worldwide game became apparent at the beginning of the 20th century with the increasing popularity of international fixtures. FIFA was founded in Paris on 21 May 1904; the French name and acronym remain, even outside French-speaking countries. Its first president was Robert Guérin.
FIFA presided over its first international competition in 1906, but this met with little approval or success. This, in combination with economic factors, led to the swift replacement of Guérin with Daniel Burley Woolfall from England, by now a member association. The next tournament staged, the football competition for the 1908 Olympics in London was more successful, despite the presence of professional footballers, contrary to the founding principles of FIFA.
Membership of FIFA expanded beyond Europe with the application of South Africa in 1908, Argentina and Chile in 1912, and Canada and the United States in 1913.
FIFA, however, foundered during World War I, with many players sent off to war and the possibility of travel for international fixtures severely limited. Post-war, following the death of Woolfall, the organisation was run by Dutchman Carl Hirschmann. It was saved from extinction, but at the cost of the withdrawal of the Home Nations (of the United Kingdom), who cited an unwillingness to participate in international competitions with their recent World War enemies. The Home Nations later resumed their membership.
The FIFA collection is held by the National Football Museum in England.