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World Football Day marks centenary of first international football tournament

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first international football tournament with representation of all regions, which took place on May 25, 1924, the UN General Assembly has declared May 25 World Football Day.

The resolution, passed on May 7, 2024, acknowledges “the global reach of football and its impact in various spheres, including commerce, peace and diplomacy and recognizing that football creates a space for cooperation.”

The day underscores football’s unique role as a globally beloved game and its potential to contribute positively to development and humanitarian goals worldwide.

Often referred to as “the global game”, football (i.e. soccer) is played, followed and talked about in almost every corner of the planet. The sport’s biggest events, e.g. the quadrennial FIFA World Cup or the annual UEFA Champions League Final, are among the biggest sporting events in the world, only matched by the Olympics in terms of their global reach.

According to FIFA, around 5 billion people engaged with the last FIFA World Cup in Qatar 2022, with the final reaching a global audience of 1.5 billion viewers.

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Last year’s UEFA Champions League final was estimated by UEFA to reach 450 million people across the global, letting the Super Bowl pale in comparison with an estimated global audience of around 200 million viewers.

The following chart, based on Statista Consumer Insights data, shows where people are particularly fond of the global game and where interest in football is more limited.

It clearly shows the popularity of football in Europe and Latin America as well as the potential for future growth in North America and parts of Asia and Oceania.

Felix Richter is a Data Journalist and writes for Statista

Felix Richter
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