Annual Report 2023

In memoriam

FIFA remembers those who sadly passed in 2023

Sir Bobby Charlton 1937-2023

One of the greatest footballers produced by England, FIFA World Cup winner Bobby Charlton died aged 86 in 2023. He was one of the most decorated players in English football history, having won the FA Cup, the Football League and the European Cup as a Manchester United player, while also claiming 106 caps for his country, amassing a total of 49 goals in the process. He captained Manchester United to their first European Cup in 1968 – the first English team to do so – and was a survivor of the 1958 Munich air disaster. Eight of his Manchetser United team‑mates, three members of staff and 12 other passengers were killed in the harrowing accident, after the airliner carrying the team back from a tie in Belgrade crashed in icy conditions at Munich airport. Charlton, still strapped into his seat, was thrown clear of the burning wreckage. Just 20 at the time, it was an incident that understandably haunted him for the rest of his life. Charlton recovered physically and went on to score 249 goals in 758 appearances for the Old Trafford side and long stood as the club’s highest goalscorer of all time until that record was eclipsed in 2017 by Wayne Rooney. Charlton was born in Northumberland on 11 October 1937 and was the second of four sons – his brother Jack was two years older than him. They became the first siblings of the 20th century to play for England together, although they had a strained relationship for much of their adult life. It is understood that his love of football came through his mother, Cissie, rather than his father, Robert, who had no interest in the game. Renowned for being able to score spectacular goals with either foot, Charlton was never properly regarded as an out-and-out striker but rather as an advanced, attacking midfielder. Charlton played 757 matches in all competitions for Manchester United, including a club record 605 league games. In June 1984, Charlton became a director of Manchester United. A respected ambassador for his club, English football and football across the world, Sir Bobby Charlton was a revered figurehead, renowned for his gentlemanly conduct.

Bobby Charlton holds the Jules Rimet World Cup trophy up to the crowd after England beat Northern Ireland 2-0 in an International at Windsor Park, Belfast - their first match since becoming world champions, 22nd October 1966. Behind Charlton is Martin Peters. England Captain Bobby Moore is at centre, right, and keeper Peter Shilton is in yellow at far left. (Photo by Syndication International/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)

Just Fontaine 1933-2023

Frenchman Just Fontaine’s career was cut short by injury, but his name was already firmly written in football’s history books by then. The striker netted an unsurpassed 13 goals at the 1958 FIFA World Cup finals in Sweden, a feat all the more remarkable given that he had made the French squad as a reserve striker with few expectations of playing in the tournament. He had a strong partnership with Raymond Kopa, with Fontaine’s pace and anticipation serving as perfect fodder for Kopa. Having expected to deputise for Reims striker René Bliard at the tournament, Fontaine even had to borrow a pair of boots for the opening game against Paraguay, after his own were deemed not to be up for the job following an injury to Bliard. Fontaine was born in Marrakech to a Spanish mother, Maria, and a French father, Delphin Fontaine. He was raised with his six siblings in Casablanca before being scouted by Nice, who took him to France in 1953. He won his first international cap aged 20 in a World Cup qualifier against Luxembourg, a moment he duly marked by scoring a hat-trick. However, he did not get his next cap until 1956, against Hungary in Paris, where France lost 2-1. Fontaine did not play for the national team for another year. He featured against Hungary in Budapest in 1957 and then did not play for France until March 1958, when he scored against Spain – a goal that earned him his place in the 1958 World Cup squad. By that point, he had been at Reims for two years, where he was top scorer in the French league in 1957-1958 and 1958-1959. In 1959, he and his international team-mate Kopa found themselves on opposite sides in a European Cup final – Kopa for Real Madrid, with the Spanish outfit winning 2‑0 in Stuttgart. Some consolation for the defeat lay in the fact that Fontaine was the leading scorer in that year’s tournament, with a total of ten goals. Kopa was later signed by Reims and the two played up front together. Injury forced Fontaine into premature retirement in 1962, after twice breaking his leg.

France's Just Fontaine, top scorer in the 1958 World Cup tournament in Sweden with thirteen goals, an all time record  (Photo by Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Antonio Carbajal 1929-2023

Nicknamed La Tota, Mexican goalkeeper Carbajal also went by the name El Cinco Copas, after he played in five editions of the FIFA World Cup between 1950 and 1966, a record that stood for 32 years before Germany’s Lothar Matthäus equalled it. Carbajal, who did not wear gloves when he played, spent most of his 18-year playing career with Club León in his homeland. He made 364 appearances for León, winning titles in 1952 and 1956 and later went on to manage them. He also managed Unión de Curtidores, Atletas Campesinos and Atlético Morelia. He won both the Copa México and Campeón de Campeones twice with León, before taking Unión de Curtidores to the play‑offs. In 1984, he was appointed the manager of Atlético Morelia and helped the team avoid relegation in his first season. He went on to manage the team for over a decade. By the time of his death in May 2023, he was the last surviving player of the 1950 World Cup Mexico squad.

July 1966:  Antonio Carbajal, the Mexican goalkeeper, showing his injured left hand during a training session in Hertfordshire.  (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Roberto Dinamite 1954-2023

Brazilian legend Roberto Dinamite died in January 2023 aged 68 after a battle with bowel cancer. The striker is best known for his time with Vasco da Gama, where he spent 21 seasons and scored 708 goals in 1,110 matches for the club between 1971 and 1979, making him one of the most prolific players in football history. He also had a brief spell in Europe with Barcelona before returning to Brazil. He won the 1974 Brazilian top flight, as well as five editions of the Rio de Janeiro championship (Campeonato Carioca) in 1977, 1982, 1987, 1988 and 1992. Dinamite scored 20 goals in 38 games for Brazil, including three goals in five appearances at the 1978 FIFA World Cup in Argentina as Brazil claimed bronze, while he was also at the 1982 FIFA World Cup. He remains the all-time leading marksman in the Brazilian top flight, having scored 190 goals in 328 appearances. Dinamite – whose nickname was earned when journalist Aparício Pires christened him Dinamite after he netted a spectacular goal in his Vasco da Gama debut against Internacional at Maracanã Stadium. He was President of Vasco da Gama between 2008 and 2014.

Roberto Dinamite of Brazil lines up prior to the 3rd & 4th place play-off between Italy and Brazil at the Estadio Monumental in Buenos Aires, 24th June 1978. Brazil won 2-1.

Salif Keïta 1946-2023

The winner of the first African Footballer of the Year award in 1970 and one of the continent’s sporting legends, Salif Keïta died aged 76 in September 2023. Keïta enjoyed a long career in France, playing with Saint-Étienne and Olympique de Marseille. He also played for Valencia in Spain and Sporting Clube in Portugal, before finishing his career in the North American Soccer League. The Malian moved to Europe when he was only 20 years old. He scored 12 goals in his debut campaign in 1967-1968 and 22 each in the two subsequent seasons. Boosted considerably by Keïta’s goals, Saint-Étienne won the league in three of those campaigns, did the double in 1967-1968 and 1969-1970, and won the Trophée des Champions in 1967, 1968 and 1969. Saint-Étienne lost the league title in 1970-1971 and 1972-1973. Yet, Keïta enjoyed his most prolific seasons, producing 71 goals in 72 appearances, including 42 in 40 in the 1970-1971 campaign. For Mali, he made his debut as a 16-year-old and was part of the squad that finished second in the 1972 Africa Cup of Nations. In 1994, he created the first training centre for professional football players in Mali.

L'international malien de l'AS St-Etienne, Salif Keita, est photographié le 19 mai 1972 à Saint-Etienne. Salif Keita vient d'être suspendu 6 mois pour avoir signé "un contrat occulte" avec son employeur l'ASSE, lequel est condamné à une amende de 30.000 frs.  AFP PHOTO (Photo by - / AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

Saoud Al Mohannadi 1957-2023

Saoud Al Mohannadi was the vice president of the Qatar Football Association (QFA) and the AFC, as well as a member of the FIFA Council. After serving in a senior leadership role at Al Sadd, the 16-time winners of the Qatar Stars League and two-time winners of the AFC Champions League, Al Mohannadi was appointed the General Secretary of the QFA in 2001. In 2015, he became the vice president of the AFC, a position he held until his death in January this year. Described as “a true servant of the game” by AFC President Shk. Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, Al Mohannadi contributed immensely to the development and growth of QFA competitions and, in particular, played a key role in the transformation of the AFC Asian Cup. Under his leadership, the AFC delivered its best-ever AFC Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates in 2019, which broke all digital engagement and TV viewership records. Al Mohannadi is regarded as one of the most reputable Qatari officials at local, regional and international levels and left a lasting legacy.

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 03: FIFA Council member Saoud Abdulaziz M A Al Mohannadi poses for a portrait ahead of a FIFA Council Meeting at the Hotel Salomon de Rothschild on June 03, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Mike Hewitt - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Luis Suárez Miramontes 1935-2023

The only Spanish man to win the Ballon d’Or, Luis Suárez Miramontes was born in the Spanish region of Galicia but spent the bulk of his career in Italy with FC Internazionale. He won the European Cup in 1964 and 1965 and three Italian league titles. Suárez moved to Inter from Barcelona after helping them to two Spanish league titles, scoring 141 goals in 253 appearances. He won the Ballon d’Or in 1960 and was runner-up in 1961 and 1964. He was also part of the Spanish side who won their first major title with the 1964 European Championships. After retiring in 1973, Suárez had three spells coaching Inter. He also managed Spain’s national side from 1988 to 1991 and lead them to the last 16 at the FIFA World Cup in 1990. He was humble about his success in the Ballon d’Or, a trophy that eluded subsequent Spanish superstars, including Andrés Iniesta, Xavi Hernández and Raúl González. “So much depends on the era you find yourself living in,” Suárez told FIFA. “You need the slice of luck that comes when another great player of your time doesn’t perform quite so well. There have been truly great players who have never won that award. It’s not that big a deal.”

Spanish footballer Luis Suarez Miramontes of the Spanish World Cup team, 17th April 1961. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Gianluca Vialli 1964-2023

Gianluca Vialli won every major trophy on offer in Italy across a 16‑year playing career. This included Serie A titles with Sampdoria and Juventus, the Champions League with Juventus in 1996, as well as the UEFA Cup and UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup. He was a four-time Coppa Italia winner. Vialli scored 16 goals in 59 appearances for Italy and was a key player of the Italy team and the FIFA World Cup in 1986 and 1990. His GBP 12.5 million transfer from Sampdoria to Juventus in 1992 was a world-record fee at the time. In 1996, he moved to England to play with Chelsea as Ruud Gullit signed him, with the move an immediate success. He lifted the FA Cup and, in his second season, as player-manager, won the League Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup. Aged just 33 years and 308 days, Vialli was then the youngest manager to win a major European title. He took Chelsea to a third-placed Premier League finish in 1998‑1999, his last campaign as a player, and bowed out with the winning goal in a 2-1 home win over Derby. He won his fifth major trophy in less than three years in charge of Chelsea, when they won the FA Cup in 2000. He was part of Roberto Mancini’s backroom team who won the 2020 European Championships with a win over England, before he had to step away due to the debilitating nature of his pancreatic cancer, which had returned for a second time.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 23:  Gianluca Vialli arrives for The Best FIFA Football Awards - Green Carpet Arrivals on October 23, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Nora Watkins 1957-2023

A pioneering member of the first‑ever New Zealand women’s side and the first woman to be a national coach, Nora Watkins left a lasting legacy following her death in June 2023 aged 65. At 18, Watkins became a member of the first‑ever New Zealand women’s team when she was part of the team who made history by beating Hong Kong, China 2-0 at the inaugural AFC Women’s Asian Cup. The New Zealand team went on to win the tournament with Watkins (then Hetherington) scoring in the final against Thailand. A year later, Hetherington moved to Miramar Rangers to play alongside her New Zealand strike partner Marilyn Marshall. She played ten internationals for New Zealand, scoring twice. She played for the Miramar Rangers first‑division side until 1983, and then coached the team in five of the next seven seasons. She won five championships as a Miramar coach between 1985 and 1991 and enjoyed similar success at Petone, including three successive Central League titles in 1994, 1995 and 1996. She also took charge of the national side for a two-match series against Australia in March 1995 – the first woman to hold that position. Prior to that, she served as the Football Ferns’ assistant coach between 1989 and 1994, working alongside Dave Boardman at the inaugural FIFA Women’s World Cup in China PR in 1991.

AR 2023 - Nora Watkins

Elaine Watson 1935-2023

Manager of the first Australian team to attend the 1978 Women’s World Invitational Tournament in Chinese Taipei, Watson was a pioneer of women’s football. Her career began as a team manager in 1964, with her early years of involvement encompassing all manner of roles, including refereeing and coaching, while also attending to administrative duties such as treasurer and finance director. In 1975, Watson became the foundation president of the Queensland Women’s Soccer Association, later serving as the president of the Australian Women’s Soccer Association and then Oceania Women’s Soccer Federation president for eight years. She went on to serve as a tour leader for the first OFC Nations Cup and for the 1988 pilot World Cup in China PR, and was also the first person to be awarded life membership of the Australian Women’s Soccer Association. She received the Award of Merit from the Confederation of Australian Sport and in 1993 was presented with the Order of Australia Medal for services to women’s football. In 2010, Football Brisbane renamed the zone’s premier women’s trophy the Elaine Watson Cup in honour of her “many years of selfless service”. Two of Watson’s blazers are on display at the FIFA Museum, one from when she was the manager of the Matildas and president of the association, while the second is from her time as the president of the Oceania Women’s Football Confederation.

Elaine Watson-Profile

FIFA remembers

Shaharuddin Abdullah, Malaysia Attila Abonyi, Australia Saeed Al Misnad, Qatar Sharar Haidar, Iraq Shaye Al-Nafisah, Saudi Arabia Yousef Al-Salem, Saudi Arabia Marcos Alonso, Spain Hassan Amcharrat, Morocco Papa Arko, Ghana Lars Arnesson, Sweden Romualdo Arppi Filho, Brazil Christian Atsu, Ghana Tulsidas Balamaran, India Clive Barker, South Africa Boubakari Bello, Cameroon Omar Berdiýew, Turkmenistan Georges Bereta, France Silvio Berlusconi, Italy Satiananthan Bhaskran, Malaysia Miroslav Blažević, Bosnia/Croatia Reino Börjesson, Sweden Jaime Bosch Bedia, Puerto Rico François Bracci, France Craig Brown, Scotland Henry Browne, Liberia Robert Budzynski, France Norman Burtenshaw, England Henry Caicedo, Colombia Antonio Carbajal, Mexico Hernán Carrasco, Chile Marc Kanyan Case, France Ernesto Castano, Italy Sir Bobby Charlton, England Bikram Chaudhary, Nepal George Chigova, Zimbabwe Karolis Chvedukas, Lithuania Dominique Colonna, France Osvaldo Cruz, Argentina Christian Dalger, France Palhinha, Brazil Stéphane Demol, Belgium Camille Dimmer, Luxembourg Roberto Dinamite, Brazil José Dolgetta, Venezuela Benny Dollo, Indonesia Raphael Dwamena, Ghana Freddy Elie, Venezuela Guillermo Escalada, Uruguay Miguel Escobar, Colombia Hans Ettmayer, Austria Tony Fitzgerald, Republic of Ireland Egil Johansen, Norway Just Fontaine, France Trevor Francis, England Stanley Franks Jr, Saint Kitts and Nevis Gints Freimanis, Latvia Josep Maria Fusté, Spain Italo Galbiati, Italy Ruud Geels, Netherlands Rolf Geiger, Germany Nikolay Ghazaryan, Armenia David Gold, England Alberto González, Argentina Sergio Gori, Italy Mohammed Habib, India Yehezkel Hazum, Israel Aki Heiskanen, Finland Günter Herrmann, Germany Toni Hiro, Tahiti Horst-Dieter Höttges, Germany Fernando Jara, Chile Darío Jara, Paraguay Birger Jensen, Denmark Papa Amghar Jiddou, Mauritania Jan Jongbloed, Netherlands Nader Joukhadar, Syria Antonio Juliano, Italy Harun Jusoh, Malaysia Volkan Kahraman, Austria Karounga Keïta, Mali Salif Keïta, Mali Nahim Khadi, Sierra Leone A.R. Khaleel, India Papi Khomane, South Africa Tony Knapp, England György Kottán, Hungary Ernst Kozlicek, Austria Leonie Aragon, Switzerland Krister Kristensson, Sweden Per Kristoffersen, Norway Michel Kruin, Suriname Willy Kyambadde, Uganda Bo Larsson, Sweden Alain Laurier, France Wojciech Łazarek, Poland Francis Lee, England Miklós Lendvai, Hungary Roman Lentner, Poland Giovanni Lodetti, Italy Charly Loubet, France Friedel Lutz, Germany Modeste M’Bami, Cameroon Ismaila Mabo, Nigeria Esko Malm, Finland Bertrand Marchand, France Edgar Marín, Costa Rica Peter Marti, Switzerland Raul Machado, Portugal Salem Marwan, Saudi Arabia Néstor Matamala, Chile Ronald McKinnon, Scotland Gordon McQueen, Scotland Loraine Mcdouall, Switzerland Avraham Menchel, Israel Rubens Minelli, Brazil Luis Suárez Miramontes, Spain John Moeti, South Africa Melika Mohammadi, IR Iran Saoud Al Mohannadi, Qatar Moeketsi Molelekoa, South Africa Carlos Monín, Paraguay Tom Mtine, Zambia Phillimon Mulala, Zambia Henning Munk Jensen, Denmark Colin Murphy, England Juan Carlos Murúa, Argentina Vahidin Musemić, Bosnia Kostas Nestoridis, Greece Edington Ng’onamo, Malawi Ronnie Nolan, Republic of Ireland Titus Okere, Nigeria Ferran Olivella, Spain Jan Olsson, Sweden Juvencio Osorio, Paraguay Francisco Osorto, El Salvador Abderrahim Ouakili, Morocco Ergun Öztuna, Türkiye Ahmet Suat Özyazıcı, Türkiye Essop Pahad, South Africa Theo Pahlplatz, Netherlands Mimis Papaioannou, Greece Jong Hwan-park, Korea Republic Marinho Peres, Brazil Georges Perroud, Switzerland Petar Zhekov, Bulgaria Odilon Polleunis, Belgium Edgar Quinteros, Bolivia Oleksandr Radchenko, Ukraine Orazio Rancati, Italy Rale Rasic, Serbia/Australia Ronnie Rees, Wales Hans Richter, Germany Alfredo Rojas, Argentina Jorge Roldán, Guatemala Per Røntved, Denmark Nelsinho Rosa, Brazil Cédric Roussel, Belgium Gerry Ryan, Republic of Ireland Federico Sacchi, Argentina Victoriano Sánchez Arminio, Spain Buhran Sargun, Türkiye Juan Sarnari, Argentina Manfred Schaefer, Austria Adolf Scherer, Slovakia Anas Seidu, Ghana Hans Selander, Sweden Ziya Şengül, Türkiye Vadym Shevchenko, Ukraine Pavlo Shkapenko, Ukraine Claude Simonet, France Eddie Colquhoun, Scotland Henri Stambouli, France Werner Staub, Switzerland José Sulantay, Chile Kamel Tahir, Algeria Mackaya Tamane, Gabon Paul Tandou, Congo Carlo Tavecchio, Italy Eric Thompson, Costa Rica Billy Thomson, Scotland Rahman Gumbo, Zimbabwe Ari Tissari, Finland Usmon Toshev, Uzbekistan Ahmet Türkaslan, Türkiye Grant Turner, New Zealand Amancio, Spain Terry Vaughn, United States Terry Venables, England Gianluca Vialli, Italy Waldemar Victorino, Uruguay Josef Vojta, Czechia Nora Watkins, New Zealand Elaine Watson, Australia Marco Warren, Bermuda Christos Zanteroglou, Greece