The need for a single body to oversee the game became apparent at the beginning of the 20th century with the increasing popularity of international fixtures. FIFA was founded in Paris on 21 May 1904; the French name and acronym remain, even outside French-speaking countries. The founding members were the national associations of Belgium, Denmark, France, The Netherlands, Spain (represented by Madrid Football Club, Spanish federation was created in 1913), Sweden and Switzerland. Also, that same day, the German Association declared its intention of affiliating through a telegram.
The first president of FIFA was Robert Guérin. Guérin was replaced in 1906 by Daniel Burley Woolfall from England, by then a member association. The next tournament staged, the football competition for the 1908 Olympics in London was more successful, despite the presence of professional footballers, contrary to the founding principles of FIFA.
Membership of FIFA expanded beyond Europe with the application of South Africa in 1908, Argentina and Chile in 1912, and Canada and the United States in 1913.
During World War I, with many players sent off to war and the possibility of travel for international fixtures severely limited, there were few international fixtures, and the organisation’s survival was in doubt. Post-war, following the death of Woolfall, the organisation was run by Dutchman Carl Hirschmann. It was saved from extinction, but at the cost of the withdrawal of the Home Nations (of the United Kingdom), who cited an unwillingness to participate in international competitions with their recent World War enemies. The Home Nations later resumed their membership.
The FIFA collection is held by the National Football Museum in England.