Federation Internationale de Football Association aka FIFA

Federation Internationale de Football Association aka FIFA

FIFA, more commonly known as The Federation Internationale de Football Association, is the International administrative body that oversees not only association football, but beach soccer and futsal as well.  Its headquarters are in Zurich, Switzerland.


FIFA is charged with ensuring that standards are maintained in soccer worldwide.  Not only is it responsible for overseeing the various world soccer associations, but it is also responsible for organizing and promoting tournaments.  

The organization not only runs professional level competitions, but oversees amateur ones as well.  Their goal is to promote the development of football.


They have very stringent rules regarding the status and transfer of youth players.  As a general rule, an athlete cannot be transferred internationally until he/she is over eighteen (18).   

These regulations also apply to minor players who have never been registered with a club and who are not a national of the country in which they are wanting to be registered as a first time player.  (cf. art. 19 par. 3 of the Regulations).

There are certain exceptions to this general rule. 

Click here for a link to the “Minor player application guide”.  It lists the necessary documentation that needs to be included in any application for a youth player transfer.  These requirements will vary on the individual circumstances.

There are also limited exceptions that can be used to register a minor player for a club that is at the amateur level only.  An amateur club is defined as one that does not have any legal, financial or de facto link to an existing professional club.

These regulations are meant to serve as guidelines only.  They were created to protect unaccompanied refugee players and exchange student players from discrimination and unfair treatment.  The FIFA administration is solely responsible for investigating the specific facts of each player’s circumstances, and only the FIFA subcommittee has the authority to make a decision.


The Executive Committee is lead by the president, who maintains his position for a four year term.  The Executive committee is over several other committees in the organization, such as the Disciplinary, the Finance, the Standing and the Referee Committees. The Executive Committee also is responsible for making decisions concerning competitions and promoting football.  It has the authority to suspend teams and members for conduct they find unbecoming.

Similar to the US system of government, the various Committees are designed to create a checks and balance system in the organization.  The ruling group is the Congress.  It is made up of representatives from all the member associations and grants each of them a single vote.  National associations, and not federations are members.  The Congress meets on an annual basis for normal sessions; however, allows for special sessions to be held if needed.  It functions as the legislative body.  This is the group that is responsible for maintaining and amending its statutes.   They are also the group that either approves or denies new member associations.  

The Congress is responsible for electing the President, the General Secretary and the other members who make up the counsel.  They do this on a cyclical basis, a year after the World Cup.

There are six (6) separate confederations that govern soccer in various regions of the world.  These are:

  • Asian Football Confederation (AFC)
  • Confederation of African Football (CAF)
  • Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF)
  • Confederacion Sudamericana de Futbol (CONMEBOL)
  • Oceania Football Confederation (OFC)
  • Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)


Since 1930, the most well known international soccer tournament has been the World Cup.  A Women’s World Cup was started in 1991.  This event is held once every four years.