South American Football Day Date in the current year: June 9, 2024

South American Football Day On June 9 every year, football enthusiasts from all over South America celebrate South American Football Day. It was established by the then-President of the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL), Nicolás Leoz.

Football in its present-day form originated in Britain, but it became increasingly popular in Europe and even on other continents, like South America, in the beginning of the 20th century. The first football match not to feature any British team took place in Uruguay. It was played between Uruguay and Argentina, with Argentina winning.

In 1921, Jules Rimet was elected President of FIFA. Upon taking the post, he suggested that the football tournament at the 1924 Summer Olympics be recognized as a FIFA World Championship. The participating teams included Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, Estonia, France, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United States, Uruguay and Yugoslavia.

In the final gold medal match that took place on June 9, 1924, Uruguay won against Switzerland, essentially becoming the first FIFA world champion. Moreover, it also dominated the football tournament at the 1928 Summer Olympics and won the first FIFA World Cup in 1930 (both times defeating Argentine), therefore becoming world champion three times in a row.

South American Football Day was created to commemorate the historical win of Uruguay at the 1924 Summer Olympics, which showed the world for the first time what South American footballers were made of. As of 2018, South American countries (Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina) have won the FIFA World Cup nine times (two times for Uruguay, five times for Brazil, two times for Argentina).

Today, football is one of the most popular sports in South America. The continental governing body of football in South America is the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL). It was founded in 1916 by Uruguayan journalist and politician Héctor Rivadavia Gómez, who wanted to create a governing body for South American football associations. The founding members of the confederation were Argentine, Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay. They were subsequently joined by Paraguay (1921), Peru (1925), Bolivia (1926), Ecuador (1927), Colombia (1936), and Venezuela (1952).

CONMEBOL organizes three major competitions in South America: the Copa Libertadores (corresponds to the UEFA Champions League in Europe), the Copa Sudamericana (corresponds to the UEFA Europa League in Europe), and the Copa América (the South American Football Championship). The former two are club tournaments, and the latter one is contested between national teams.

Other big competitions run by CONMEBOL include Recopa Sudamericana (corresponds to the UEFA Super Cup in Europe) and the J. League Cup / Copa Sudamericana Championship Final, previously known as the Suruga Bank Championship. The latter is co-organized by CONMEBOL and the Japan Football Association. It is played in Japan between the reigning champions of the Copa Sudamericana and the J. League Cup.

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South American Football Day, cultural observances, holidays in South America, South American Football Confederation