Football stirs the passions. Only true fans know what their team’s strip means and what a game involves; only they live through victories and defeats as if they were one of the squad. Although rivalries form part of the sport, all fans share a love of one thing: the beautiful game. The new FIFA Museum in Zurich is a meeting place for all those who are attached to football, whichever their team may be. The display exhibits more than a thousand unique objects related to the history of football, as well as 4,000 FIFA books and texts, 500 videos and the original solid gold World Cup trophy.
Zurich was the city chosen by football’s highest governing body to raise this sanctuary to football, since it is in this city where FIFA’s headquarters has been located since 1932. However, although the association itself is located on the city outskirts, the museum is in the centre, beside the Enge railway station. Inaugurated in 2016, it offers more than 3,000 square metres of exhibition space, divided into three floors, intended to immerse the visitor in the history of international football through valuable artefacts and documents, as well as interactive exhibits.
The museum aims to celebrate the world’s rich footballing heritage, as well as the sport’s ability to connect people. It pays homage to a game that moves masses and which is followed by millions of people around the world. Every single international team is represented in the display, right from the very start, since on entering the museum you see the rainbow-coloured display of the 211 international shirts of FIFA’s members.
The museum is divided into two kinds of exhibit: one showing artefacts of different kinds and the other more interactive. The first has facsimiles of the association’s important rulings and minutes, recreations of early balls and boots, seats from iconic stadiums such as Wembley, Pelé’s shirt and more. The jewel in the museum’s crown is certainly the World Cup trophy, whose solid gold figures stand on a malachite base. The team that wins the World Cup competition, held every four years, wins the honour of raising this trophy, but then takes home a replica.
For most visitors, especially the younger ones, the most exciting part of the museum will be the interactive area on the top floor. Some of the activities prepared include commentating the goal by Andrés Iniesta which gave Spain victory in the 2010 World Cup; the chance to takes selfies against the backdrop of the world’s most spectacular stadiums, such as the Maracanã; and testing your footballing skills on a circuit that involves, among other things, taking a corner or dribbling the ball past obstacles. The most competitive visitors can register and make a bid to become the museum’s highest goal scorer.
The museum has established itself as a home from home for all football fans, regardless of their origin and sporting colours. If football isn’t normally your thing, the institution is worth a visit, if only to understand a little better what makes devotees of the game so passionate about their sport. Just come to Zurich and the emotion of the game will carry you away.