Having been played as an exhibition sport at the Olympic Games in 1900 and 1904, the first official Olympic Football Tournament was staged in London in 1908 under the aegis of The Football Association and FIFA: The balance of power between the two bodies at the time is starkly evident from the Rules and Regulations of Competition: "The Competition shall be under the control und management of the Council of The Football Association (England)...[and] shall be played according to the Laws of the Game as promulgated by The Football Assocation (England) and accepted by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association."

The 1908 Congress in Vienna is dominated by political issues. Whereas Norway and Finland are admitted to FIFA unopposed, the request for admission from Scotland and Northern Ireland gives rise to a heated debate.

But not long after, all four British associations join FIFA. Scotland and Wales are admitted in 1910 and Northern Ireland twelve months later.

One hundred years ago, the Congress takes it upon itself to set up international "A" matches. Twenty-three matches are arranged for the 1908-09 season. Hungary and Germany play most (7 each) whereas Finland and Norway contest only one. In stark contrast, in 2007, 932 men's and 446 women's international "A" matches were played. Saudi Arabia was the most active team with 22 matches to its name.

Also it was agreed that a player shall not play for two national associations in the same season without the mutual consent of the associations concerned.