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FIFA celebrates 120th anniversary of foundation in Paris

FIFA celebrates 120th anniversary of foundation in Paris
22 May 2024 22:24

RABI HAMAMSAH (ABU DHABI)

At the invitation of the French President Emmanuel Macron, FIFA President Gianni Infantino led celebrations of the 120th anniversary of FIFA’s foundation in Paris, France, and paid tribute to the “group of dreamers” who brought world football’s governing body to life.


FIFA was founded on May 21, 1904 in a building at 229 rue Saint Honoré in Paris’ 1st arrondissement where it has since grown into a global organisation comprising 211 FIFA Member Associations and has organised tournaments in each of the six continental confederations.


In his congratulatory message, the French President stressed the important role that FIFA and football has had in the past 120 years, with both Presidents stressing the importance of the close partnership that exists between the French government and FIFA. This link is illustrated by the fact that the FIFA Member Associations Division has been based in Paris since 2022, which has provided additional opportunities to strengthen this partnership.


The cooperation between FIFA and France has further developed via the agreement signed between FIFA and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) in 2019 which aims to promote unifying educational, cultural and humanitarian values around the world through youth-oriented football development programmes.


President Infantino and President Macron were joined by senior FIFA officials, notably representatives of world football’s six confederations and of the seven founding members, FIFA Legends and other dignitaries from the football and sporting world in the French capital. 


“We are here to thank, to remember, to celebrate. We have to start by thanking those who were here 120 years ago: Rue Saint Honoré 229, Robert Guérin, the first FIFA President. A group of dreamers, of visionaries representing six countries and one club, who represented a country – it was Madrid FC, Real Madrid who represented Spain. They founded it 120 years ago today – FIFA. So, of course, we have to thank them,” said the FIFA President.


“We started with seven members 120 years ago. It's 211 now. The five billion people watching the FIFA World Cups and dreaming about football; the players and the FIFA Legends who are here today, those who make our hearts beat, who give us these incredible emotions, the fans from all over the world who follow their passion and who make football truly, truly unique. The history of 120 years, 120 years uniting the world.”


During the ceremony, President Infantino and representatives from the seven founder members of FIFA – the national football associations of Belgium, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland, as well as Real Madrid CF, who were the Spanish representatives 120 years ago – signed a commemorative certificate that was an exact copy of the document penned by the founder members in 1904. 


Mr. Infantino also unveiled a commemorative plaque not far from the modest back room in a building at229 rue Saint Honoré in Paris’ 1st arrondissement where FIFA was founded. It has since grown into a global organisation comprising 211 FIFA Member Associations and which has organised tournaments in each of the six continental confederations.


Attendees were also able to see some notable artefacts representing milestones in FIFA’s existence curated by the FIFA Museum, including the current and past FIFA World Cup™ and FIFA Women’s World Cup™ trophies. In addition to a slideshow of historical photos showing FIFA’s early years, the events of May 1904 that led to the organisation coming into being and the subsequent growth of the organisation were presented.


“We had our FIFA Congress last Friday in Bangkok, in Thailand, where we sent out a very strong message: a global stand against racism all together to eradicate racism, to kick it out of football and, hopefully, as well, of society. This is one of the values of the messages that, of course, we have in football, with the most important being to unite the world and to give joy and happiness to people,” Mr Infantino added, noting that the actions received the full support of the French President. 
“FIFA has been the official happiness provider since 1904, for the last 120 years, and will continue to be so for the next 1,200 years at least,” the FIFA President said.

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