Scholars and experts from the academic world will visit the Home of FIFA in Zurich for a four-day symposium designed to encourage debate about the FIFA World Cup™ as a mega-event. There has been much academic discussion and argument around the impact of the Olympic Games, another quadrennial event which has a build-up comparable to the FIFA World Cup. Organisers want to instigate similar discussion about football’s showpiece tournament.

Each of the 19 FIFA World Cups will be discussed from a different academic viewpoint as the impact of each tournament on the host country is examined, as well as the wider social and political implications for staging such an event.

There will also be a series of panel discussions, with topics ranging from the pre-war FIFA World Cups, dictatorships’ and democracies’ role in past tournaments and the multiculturalism and commercialisation that has defined the past two decades.

Professor Stefan Rinke and Kay Schiller are the co-conveners of the symposium, and they hand-picked the 19 experts from ten different countries who will dissect the history of the FIFA World Cups in the series of lectures and panel discussions.
Professor Rinke, of the Institute of Latin American Studies at Freie Universitat Berlin, will deliver a paper on the inaugural FIFA World Cup, which Uruguay hosted in 1930. He thinks the event will prove a fascinating discussion about the beautiful game.

“Our event brings together a most disintiguished group of experts on each of the World Cups,” he said. “This will be an exciting conference which will certainly gain attention within and without the academic world.”

Professor Schiller of Technical University Dresden and Durham University is an expert in German sports history. His presentation focuses on the significance of the 1974 FIFA World Cup in West Germany.

“Bringing all these experts together provides a fantastic opportunity to develop a comprensive perspective on the history and impact of what has become the world’s most important cultural and sports event,” he said. “There is no more fitting place for convening such a meeting than at the Home of FIFA.”

The event will be opened by FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, followed by a keynote speech from David Goldblatt, author of the acclaimed ‘The Ball is Round: A Global History of Football’. Goldblatt’s keynote will explore the FIFA World Cup through the ages and its impact on global history and culture, from 1930 through to 2022.

Organisers hope that the scrutiny paid to each FIFA World Cup will engage discussion about a wide range of topics, including the role of the tournament as a means of national identity and a global media event, and its significance for the development of football itself.

The symposium will be held at the Home of FIFA and the FIFA Sonnenberg Building from 24-27 April 2013.