About FIFA

Past Presidents

Robert Guerin

Robert Guerin, (1904 - 1906)

Born 1876, Died 1952

Frenchman Robert Guerin was the dynamic figure behind the founding of FIFA in 1904. 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 Societes Françaises de Sports Athletiques. 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

Daniel Burley Woolfall, (1906 - 1918)

Born 1852, Died 1918

An English FA administrator from Blackburn, Daniel Burley 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 organise the first noteworthy international football competition, the 1908 Olympic Games in London. His reign 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 August 1918.

Jules Rimet

Jules Rimet, (1921 - 1954)

Born 1873, Died 1956  (named Honorary FIFA President on 21 June 1954)

When the FIFA World Cup trophy was renamed in honour of Jules Rimet in 1946, it was rightful recognition of the role played by the Frenchman, then celebrating his 25 th anniversary as President, in establishing what fast became the sport's foremost competition. Rimet, inspired by the success of the Olympic Football Tournament, was the driving force behind the FIFA World Cup's inception in 1930. His overriding aim was a rapprochement of nations through sport and the First World War only reinforced his determination. He oversaw the first five tournaments before handing 'his' trophy over for the final time to West Germany captain Fritz Walter in June 1954. That same month, the then 80-year-old ended his long reign - during which FIFA membership grew from 20 to 85 countries - and became the federation's first Honorary President.

Rodolphe William Seeldrayers

Rodolphe William Seeldrayers, (1954 - 1955)

Born 1876, Died 1955

A lawyer from Brussels, Rodolphe William Seeldrayers was an accomplished sportsman in his youth, winning a Belgian championship with Racing Club Brussels - a club he later served as president. As a sports administrator, he helped found the Belgian Football Association and served on the International Olympic Committee. At FIFA he performed the duties of Vice-President for 27 years prior to succeeding Jules Rimet, his great comrade-in-arms. Seeldrayers was President for the 1954 FIFA World Cup and also oversaw the world governing body's 50 th anniversary celebrations that same year. He died in office on 7 October 1955.

Arthur Drewry

Arthur Drewry, (1955 - 1961)

Born 1891, Died 1961

Arthur Drewry served as interim head of FIFA for six months following the death of Rodolphe William Seeldrayers and then became President in his own right in June 1956. Together with Stanley Rous, he had keenly supported Jules Rimet's efforts to bring the British associations back into FIFA in 1946 and he also served as president of the Football League and chairman of the Football Association in England. The near five years that Drewry spent as President - from his election in 1956 to his passing aged 70 on 25 March 1961 - included the 1958 FIFA World Cup in Sweden.

Sir Stanley Rous

Sir Stanley Rous, (1961 - 1974)

Born 1895, Died 1986 (named Honorary FIFA President on 11 June 1974)

Sir Stanley Rous had already made an impressive contribution to football on and off the field before becoming President of FIFA. As a top-class referee, he took charge of the FA Cup final in England and 36 international matches. Then, having becoming secretary of the English FA in 1934, he helped rewrite the Laws of the Game in 1938 while his patient diplomacy helped pave the way for the British nations rejoining FIFA in 1946. Rous was knighted in 1949 for his contribution to the London Olympics the previous year and to sport in general. He became the third English President of FIFA when he took the reins in September 1961 and during his term of office, the FIFA World Cup became a worldwide television spectacle - particularly with the Mexico 1970 finals, which were the first to be broadcast around the globe in colour. Four years earlier he had been witness to England's FIFA World Cup triumph on home soil.

João Havelange

João Havelange (1974 - 1998)

Born 1916, Died 2016 (named Honorary FIFA President on 8 June 1998)

Dr João Havelange's 24 years as FIFA President were a period of significant change which featured, most notably, the expansion of the FIFA World Cup from a 16-team tournament to one twice as large by the time the Brazilian left his post in 1998. An Olympic swimmer and water polo player in his younger days, Havelange's greatest achievement as a football administrator was arguably to ensure increased involvement on the world stage for teams from Asia, Africa, CONCACAF and Oceania, who had had just three FIFA World Cup finalists between them in 1974. FIFA's Zurich headquarters housed just 12 staff members when he took office yet that figure would increase almost tenfold as FIFA's organisational responsibilities and commercial interests grew, not least with a wave of new tournaments introduced, notably the world championships at U-17 and U-20 level in the late 1980s and the FIFA Confederations Cup and FIFA Women's World Cup at the start of the 1990s.

Joseph S. Blatter

Joseph S. Blatter (1998 - 2015)

Born 1936

On 8 June 1998 Joseph S. Blatter was elected as successor to Dr João Havelange, becoming the eighth FIFA President. His victory at the 51st FIFA Ordinary Congress in Paris elevated the Swiss, who had already served FIFA in various positions for 23 years, to the highest position in international football. During his tenure, FIFA heavily strengthened its football development activities across the globe and its ability to impact society beyond the field of play by instigating a variety of educational, health and social programmes. Under his stewardship, the organisation widely expanded its portfolio of tournaments by adding the FIFA Club World Cup, the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup and the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. On 2 June 2015 Blatter announced that he would be laying down his mandate at an extraordinary elective Congress, which took place on 26 February 2016 in Zurich.

Last updated: Tuesday 22 June 2021 at 09:34