Five Things You Didn’t Know about FIFA

61st FIFA Congress - Opening Ceremony

People have been getting quite excited here in America with the FIFA World Cup this year, especially due to the fact that the United States is actually playing incredibly well so far in the tournament with a win over Ghana and a (so close to being a win, should have been a win) tie to Portugal just this past Sunday. However, are most Americans actually familiar with FIFA, the organization that funds and runs the World Cup and numerous other tournaments? Just the other day, my dad asked me what FIFA stands for, and I couldn’t even give him an exact answer. Now, after doing some research I know what FIFA stands for (the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, or in English, the International Federation of Association Football) and even  a lot more stuff about the organization that I never knew before. Here are five things you didn’t know about FIFA.

Over 200 nations are a part of FIFA

It’s 209 nations to be exact – that’s how many countries are a part of FIFA. To put that into perspective, those 209 countries are more than what comprises the United Nations and also more than the amount of nations that gather together to compete in the Olympics. If that doesn’t convince a person of the power that soccer holds throughout the world, what will?

93% of FIFA’s income comes from the World Cup

The World Cup is a big deal to FIFA not just because of the tradition and prestige of the event. It’s also a big deal to the organization because that’s where virtually all of its money comes from. 93% of FIFA’s incomes is a byproduct of the World Cup. All the tickets sold, food bought, and merchandise purchased helps finance all the other FIFA tournaments

FIFA supports over 200 different charity groups

While may obtain a great deal of wealth from the World Cup, it uses that money for good. FIFA supports over 200 different charity groups across the world. While it’s always good to see when a league or organization helps out those less fortunate, it’s especially awesome in FIFA’s case purely for the sheer amount of charities that they impact each year.

FIFA provides emergency aid to countries affected by natural disasters

And FIFA doesn’t just stop at giving to charities. No, the organization actually provides on the site emergency aid for countries that have been damaged by natural disasters. FIFA contributes millions of dollars to helping areas like Haiti and Somalia. No matter the size or state of the country that needs assistance, FIFA ensures that aid is given wherever and whenever it is necessary.

FIFA has taken a big stance against illegal betting and match-fixing

While no sport would ever actually support or defend illegal betting, FIFA is much more proactive and thorough organization than most. In fact, FIFA’s “Early Warning System” monitors over 400 betting organizations throughout the world. I think it’s pretty safe to say that you would never find the Pete Rose equivalent of a soccer player within the confines of FIFA.

Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

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