In an intimate ceremony presented by Roman Kilchsperger, some 100 guests celebrated the opening of the FIFA World Football Museum to the general public. There was a special surprise in the programme as the newly elected President of FIFA, Gianni Infantino, was also in attendance, and he was visibly delighted to open the museum as his first official duty since attaining office.
“This is a place in which football is lived and breathed,” he said in his welcome message to those present. “Here you can inoculate yourself with the football virus, if you don’t already have it. In this place, only football matters!”
Led on stage by Stephane Chapuisat – a former star of the Bundesliga and Swiss national team – a group of juniors from the local club FC Wollishofen entered the hall. The youngsters set the scene for the 'F2 Freestylers', who wowed the audience with their audacious tricks, before handing a ball over to the new FIFA President and museum director Stefan Jost for the museum’s official ‘kick-off’. A talk with Jost, Mario Fehr of the Swiss National Council, Norbert Müller, Chief of Staff of Zurich’s Mayor Corine Mauch, and FIFA Secretary General Markus Kattner rounded off the official part of the event.
“A special moment! Finally we can open this great museum to everybody,” said Jost delightedly. “This is a museum for everybody, since football transcends classes, religions and borders. This is a cultural treasure.” The renovation of the ‘Haus der Enge’ took roughly 20 months to be completed, with the interior building of the complex a particular challenge due to complex technological features.
The museum’s aim is to take visitors on an emotional journey of footballing discovery, and Kattner for one is firmly convinced by its appeal. “With this museum we’ve managed to create a fantastic meeting point for all lovers of football and sport,” said the 45-year-old.
“The opening comes at the perfect time, and – to a certain extent – symbolises a new beginning,” he added in reference to FIFA’s reforms and recent presidential election. Mario Fehr, Swiss politician and a self-confessed football fan, was also left mightily impressed by the city’s latest attraction. “It’s marvellous, and certainly an enrichment for the entire Zurich area.”
Covering an area of 3,000 m², over 1,000 objects, 1,400 photos, some 500 videos, 60 screens and 15 interactive stations all come together to form a unique football experience. Additionally, the museum also boasts a sports bar, a bistro, a café-bar and a library – all of which are available to the public – as well as events and seminar rooms.