On March 4, 2004, at a gala ceremony in London, to mark the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the international governing body of football (soccer) revealed the FIFA 100. The list contains the world-renowned Brazilian striker Pelé's choice of the "greatest living footballers". The figure 100 refers to the 100th anniversary of FIFA and not the number of players listed, which is actually 125. Apparently Pelé found it too difficult to list just 100. The list contains 123 professional men and 2 women players (Michelle Akers and Mia Hamm both from the United States). 50 of the players are still active with the remaining 75 retired from the game.
Some football observers have questioned the selection methodology of the list. David Mellor, former politician turned football pundit, wrote in his column in the Evening Standard, that he felt the selections were politically motivated rather than made on purely footballing grounds. He suggested that the selections looked as if they came from the pen of the FIFA Executive Committee rather than Pelé. As evidence for this, Mellor noted the wide geographical spread of the selected players. A true selection would be more heavily biased to South America and Europe, he claimed.