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Monday, June 17, 2024

A Journey Through History: Celebrating 120 Years of International Football Federation

This Week

The Fédération Internationale De Football Association (FIFA) has just turned 120. On 21 May, the world celebrated over a century of the most prestigious football federation globally. On that occasion, President Gianni Infantino highlighted its growth from seven members to 211, uniting billions worldwide through football’s universal language.

“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,” Infantino said.

Global Impact

But football is not just a sport; its cultural significance is immense. Throughout history, this game has inspired countless films, books, and songs, becoming an integral part of many societies. Iconic players such as Pelé from Brazil, Diego Maradona from Argentina, Cristiano Ronaldo from Portugal, and Lionel Messi from Argentina have achieved high societal status, influencing generations of fans and aspiring athletes. The sport has also played a role in social change across the world. Football has been a platform for promoting inclusivity and diversity, with initiatives aimed at combating racism, gender inequality, and other social issues. 

Football in Laos

Like in many countries, football enjoys immense popularity in Laos, with the Lao Football Federation (LFF) being established in 1951 and joining FIFA only a year later, in 1952. 

Now, for more than half a century, Laos has been hosting both domestic and international competitions annually. 

Currently, the country boasts over 60 clubs competing at various levels nationwide.

At the international level, Laos currently holds the 190th position out of 210 countries in FIFA’s world ranking. Nonetheless, Laos has also been selected to host the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U20 and U17 Championship qualifiers.

Lao National Team players during their first round of qualification with a 1-1 draw against Nepal in their first match on 12 October. (Photo: Lao Football Federation)

Football Throughout History

From its ancient beginnings to its current status as the world’s favorite sport, football’s history shows its lasting appeal and ability to bring people together. As the game continues to evolve, it remains a symbol of passion, competition, and friendship for millions around the globe.

Football, also known as “soccer” in some parts of the world, is a global phenomenon with a history spanning centuries. The origins of football can be traced back to ancient civilizations.

The earliest known form of a game resembling football dates back to over 2,000 years ago in ancient China. During the Han Dynasty (25 CE to 220 CE), a game called “Cuju” involved kicking a leather ball into a small net. Similarly, in ancient Greece and Rome, teams competed to move a ball over a predetermined area.

In medieval Europe, various forms of football emerged. In England, “mob football” was a chaotic and often violent game played between neighboring villages. There were few rules, but matches could involve hundreds of participants, leading to widespread property damage and injuries.

A set of rules for modern football was originally established in 1863 with the formation of The Football Association (FA) in England. The FA established a standardized set of rules that emphasized kicking the ball and prohibited handling. 

By the late 19th century, football had spread across Europe and South America. The first international match was in 1872 between England and Scotland.

But it wasn’t until the early 20th century that the sport saw a quick globalization, marked by the founding of FIFA in 1904 by seven countries: Belgium, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Initially, England and other British countries did not join FIFA, believing their own association sufficed. However, they eventually joined in 1905.

The first FIFA World Cup was held in 1930 in Uruguay, with the host nation emerging as champions. 

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