On display in The Foundations section at the FIFA Museum is a page from a logbook held in the FIFA archives which contains the results of international matches. Nothing remarkable in that, you might think, but to open the pages of the logbook is to take you on a journey back in time.
The pages of the Logbook of International Matches on display in the FIFA Museum sheds a light on FIFA’s early role in world football, as well as being a valuable insight into four of the most important characters in FIFA’s history, who together acted as the keepers of a series of logbooks for over three quarters of a century. In May 1902, the first of those four characters, the Dutchman CAW Hirschman, wrote a letter to The Football Association in London in which he suggested the creation of an international football federation. His letter was to kick off the process that led to the creation of FIFA two years later. The 27-year-old Hirschman was a keen footballer and football administrator and like many on the continent, believed an international federation would enable club sides, especially those known as “frontier” clubs, to play matches against teams over the border under the control of a different association.
Hirschman’s letter also suggested the creation of an international tournament, an idea that was to lead to the creation of the World Cup 28 years later, but that’s a story for another time. It would be international matches between national teams, not club sides, that would come to dominate Hirschman’s work when he was appointed General Secretary of FIFA in 1906 to work alongside FIFA President Daniel Burley Woolfall. At the 1907 FIFA Congress in Amsterdam, Woolfall and Hirschman presented a new set of statutes that initiated FIFA’s control of international matches, a control it retains to this day. One of the provisions of the new statutes was that matches for the year ahead should only be arranged at the time of the Congress and that FIFA must be notified of the results. Thus began Hirschman’s job as the first keeper of the logbook of international matches.