The early years of flying disc play were dominated by the influence of the International Frisbee Association, which was a promotional arm of Wham-O Manufacturing Company, the makers of the patented Frisbee brand flying disc. Through the efforts of that organization, many of the game designs and procedures were developed. Although most of the IFA activity was focused in the United States, many international affiliates where begun as a result of Wham-O distributorships in various countries.
The concept of an independent world organization for the development and coordination of flying disc play began in 1980 at a meeting of 40 disc organizers in Atlanta, Georgia. The result of that meeting was a loose federation of the existing player groups and the naming of Jim Powers of Philadelphia, PA as the organization’s ombudsman. Despite an ambitious beginning, relatively little was accomplished over the following years.
In 1983, a reorganizational meeting, directed by Dan Roddick was held at the U.S. Open Overall Championships in La Mirada, CA. That meeting was the first to have broad international participation and it was agreed that a European effort would be the most effective beginning for WFDF.
Coming out of that meeting, Charlie Mead of the United Kindom Flying Disc Association took the lead by drafting a plan which was distributed world-wide on September 19, 1983. This plan resulted in a formal decision to establish a world-wide association in Örebro, Sweden on July 12, 1984 during the European Overall Championships. This decision was confirmed later the same year by other flying disc countries in Lucern, Switzerland, during the World Ultimate and Guts Championships.
The first WFDF Congress was held in Helsingborg, Sweden in July 1985 where the first set of statutes was adopted and the first board was elected. The first president was Charlie Mead, England, the first secretary Johan Lindgren, Sweden and the first treasurer Brendan Nolan of Ireland.