Soccer’s embrace of professionalism fundamentally changed the nature of the game. Unlike the rugby codes which still largely retained amateur regulations and administration, soccer could now claim to be a meritocratic game, open to any male with the talent to play. This proved to be extremely appealing to the middle-class young men of Europe and South America, who saw soccer as an expression of modernity and universalism. Many rejected their own national traditions of gymnastics to embrace the game, and, keen to promote it regardless of the indifference of the British soccer authorities, would found FIFA in 1904.