FIFA is the world governing body for association football, futsal and beach soccer. Its full name is Fédération Internationale de Football Association, but it is known all around the world by its shortened name. The organization was founded in 1904 and has grown to organize and promote a bigger portfolio of competitions. FIFA oversees the 6 confederations which each manage the football associations in their respective regions. UEFA, for example, is Europe’s confederation.
The World Cup
This competition is the most viewed sporting event in the world. It is held every 4 years in a different host country or countries. Normally, the event starts in June and ends in July. However, the 2022 edition is scheduled to begin in November, due to Qatar’s unbearable heat in June. The World Cup is the tournament which makes FIFA famous throughout the world. It started back in 1930, with the first host country and winners being Uruguay. However, since the first event, the competition grew to include many more teams.
Today, the tournament sees a total of 32 teams battling it out in the group stages. The first and second place winners of each group then challenge each other in the finals. The winners of the championship win the coveted World Cup Trophy, which is made of solid, 18-carat gold. Unfortunately, they only get to keep this trophy until the end of the celebrations and are then given a replica, gold-plated one.
The winners of the last World Cup were Germany, who won it a total of 4 times. Italy, also won this championship 4 times. Brazil, however, is the ultimate champion, winning it a total of 5 times. Over the years, the players with the highest number of goals scored were German. Miroslav Klose holds the top position, scoring 16 goals. The legendary Brazilian, Pelé, is also worth a mention, having scored 12 goals.
The Confederations Cup
Sometimes referred to as the mini World Cup, the Confederations Cup is also held every 4 years and involved the men’s national football teams. It is a smaller tournament because there are a lot fewer contestants. Each of the 6 confederations sends a representative, usually the winner of that confederation’s main tournament. The host country and the winner of the previous world cup are automatically included. This brings the total number of contestants to just 8.
Once again, Germany won the last Confederations Cup, however, this was their first. Brazil has the highest number of trophies, totalling 4. France follows, having won 2 championships. Mexico’s Cuauhtémoc Blanco and Brazil’s Ronaldinho hold the record for the most goals scored, each scoring 9. They are closely followed by Spain’s Fernando Torres who scored 8.
Women’s World Cup
The participation and following of women in football have been on the steady increase and as a result, FIFA started organizing the Women’s World Cup Championship in 1991. Although not as big as the Men’s event, the Women’s tournament consists of 24 national teams and follows a very similar structure to find the winner. Statistically, the strongest team is the United States of America. It has won 3 times, followed by Germany who has won it twice. Norway and Japan have also won the trophy once.
FIFA keeps itself very busy organizing numerous tournaments and matches throughout the year. It handles the organization duties of the football Olympics for both men and women. It also has a number of world tournaments for under 20 and under 17 players. The Federation also handles the Futsal World Cup, the Beach Soccer World Cup and, more recently and surprisingly, the eWorld Cup.