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Union des Sociétés Françaises de Sports Athlétiques


Union des Sociétés Françaises de Sports Athlétiques

Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games, also helped found the USFSA. At various times he served as the federation's president and secretary general

Union des sociétés françaises de sports athlétiques (USFSA) is a former French sports governing body. During the 1890s and early 1900s it organised numerous sports including athletics, cycling, field hockey, fencing, croquet and swimming. However it is perhaps best known for being the principal governing body of both football and rugby union in France until it was effectively replaced by the French Football Federation and the French Rugby Federation. The USFSA rejected any form of professionalism and were strong advocates of amateur sport.

As well as contributing to the growth of sport in France, the USFSA also helped pioneer the development of international sport. Among its founding members were Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic Games. In 1900, together with the Union Vélocipédique de France, it was also one of two federations that represented France at the inaugural meeting of the Union Cycliste Internationale.[1] Then in 1904 Robert Guérin, secretary of the USFSA football committee, was one of the principal movers behind the foundation of FIFA. He also served as its first president.[2]


  • History 1
    • Foundation 1.1
    • Influence on Olympic Games 1.2
    • Rugby union 1.3
    • Football 1.4
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4



On 29 December 1885 Georges de Saint-Clair, the secretary-general of Racing Club de France and delegates from Stade Français had formed the Union des Sociétés Françaises de Course a Pied. Then on 1 June 1888 Pierre de Coubertin, with the support of Jules Simon and Henri Didon, formed the Comité pour la Propagation des Exercises Physiques. This group was also known as the Comité Jules Simon. The USFSA was founded in November 1890 when these two groups merged. Initially the USFSA was centred in Paris but its membership soon expanded to include sports clubs from throughout France.[3][4][5]

Influence on Olympic Games

The French football team at the 1900 Olympic Games. The players are wearing the distinct USFSA logo featuring the two interlinked rings. This design later inspired the Olympic symbol

In 1891 when the USFSA organised its first athletics championship, 1900 Paris Olympics. However a dispute, which saw de Coubertin resign as USFSA secretary general in April 1899, meant this never happened[3][5]

Rugby union

On 20 March, rugby union championship, a one off game between Racing Club de France and Stade Français. The game was refereed by Pierre de Coubertin and saw Racing win 4–3.[6] Racing were awarded the Bouclier de Brennus, which is still awarded to the winners of the French championship today. The trophy was the idea of de Coubertin, who commissioned Charles Brennus, a member of the USFSA and a professional engraver, to design it.


In 1894 the USFSA also organised the first recognised Standard Athletic Club beating White Rovers 2–0 after a replay. However, by 1896 it featured a league with nine teams and after 1899 the winners of a Paris League played off against the champions of other French regions and cities. In 1899 Le Havre AC became the first club from outside Paris to be declared French football champions.[8]

In 1900 a USFSA XI also represented France at the Olympics.[9] On 1 May 1904 the USFSA also selected the first official France national football team. They held Belgium to a 3–3 draw in Brussels[10] In the same year, Robert Guérin, secretary of the USFSA football committee, was also one of the principal movers behind the foundation of FIFA. He also served as its first president.[2]

However the USFSA did not have a monopoly on organising

  • [1] - Emblem of the Union des Sociétés Françaises de Sports Athlétiques
  • [2] - The members of the National Football Team of France wearing a reproduction of a USFSA official uniform used by France before of creation of France´s football federation during the FIFA Centennial celebration match in the Stade de France with Brazil in May 2004 showing the emblem.

External links

  1. ^
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ a b The Official History of the Olympic Games and the IOC- Athens to Beijing, 1894–2008: David Miller (2008)
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Football in France, a statistical record 1894–2003: Alex Graham (2004)
  9. ^ The Complete Results & Line-ups of the Olympic Football Tournaments 1900–2004: Colin Jose (2004)
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^


See also

In 1907 the USFSA fell out with FIFA when the latter refused to admit the French Football Federation. 1919 was also the last year that the USFSA organised the Coupe National as a national football championship.


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