There’s a FIFA World Football Museum in Zurich, y’all! Seriously!
And it’s fascinating!
I’ve never really had an interest in football (or soccer as Americans call it), but being married to my husband it helps if interests are shared sometimes.
So we went to this FIFA museum today. FIFA, in case you didn’t know, stands for Fédération Internationale de Football Association – that’s French for the International Federation of Association Football. If you see people going apeshit over the World Cup in bars where you are, you can blame these folks.
The museum is beautiful – high tech and very interesting. It houses everything from the history of how balls are made to videos of how football has impacted people worldwide. One can tell, they didn’t skimp on much!
It’s not like FIFA is aching for money, either! The funds that pour into that federation are unbelievable! It’s one of the most popular sports in the world. Between the games, the souvenirs, and the prestige of hosting a World Cup, the cash that changes hands is unreal!
That brings me to a dark blight on the world of football.
Late last year a corruption scandal rocked FIFA so hard, that high-level FIFA officials were either banned from football altogether, are being investigated by the Swiss, or have already been indicted by the United States.
In May the US indicted 14 current and former Fifa officials and associates on charges of “rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted” corruption following a major inquiry by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
And in December, 16 more officials were charged following the arrest of two Fifa vice-presidents in at the same hotel in Zurich. Former Brazil football federation chief Ricardo Teixeira was among those accused of being “involved in criminal schemes involving well over $200m (£132m) in bribes and kickbacks”.
Much attention has been focused on a $10m deal that US prosecutors say was a bribe to secure the 2010 World Cup for South Africa.
An email obtained by a South African newspaper appears to show that the then South African President, Thabo Mbeki, and Mr Blatter agreed to the deal. In the email, Fifa Secretary-General Jerome Valcke wrote to a South African minister asking when the transfer could be made, and saying that both Mr Blatter and Mr Mbeki had discussed the matter previously.
The South African government insists it was a legitimate payment to promote Caribbean football, but documents seen by the BBC suggest then Fifa vice-president Jack Warner used the payment for cash withdrawals, personal loans and to launder money.
There’s so much there! It’s hard to even imagine the extent of the alleged corruption that has permeated FIFA! Warner, Blatter, Teixeira, et. al. are the tip of the iceberg, apparently.
Hosting the World Cup – much like hosting the Olympics – is big money. And apparently Russia’s 2018 hosting was unofficially accepted before the official voting process took place in December 2010. There are construction contracts for stadiums and hotels, transportation and tourist money, and kickbacks – oh so many kickbacks! And Putin’s old buddies from the Ozero Cooperative are certain to win those contracts, just like they did for the 2012 Olympic games!
So yes, it was important for Russia to get that World Cup 2018 nod. There’s lots of money involved! And Putin thinks that the corruption scandal is a US conspiracy against Russia.
Anyway, the museum is gorgeous! And it also got me interested in football somewhat. We have our fandom here, and cities come together to support their teams. That’s part of the reason why I’m an Eagles fan and have been since I was a kid. The entire city of Philadelphia comes together to support our team! Yeah, we might all wind up in jail for shenanigans, but we’ll all be in it together!
But watching the tears, happiness, anxiety, sheer joy, and elation that is world-class football, as well as the continuous action… well, it kind of makes me think I’m missing something!
The museum had this montage of Mia Hamm when she was playing, and I was absolutely mesmerized by her skill and energy on the field!
We explored previous World Cups, the history of the sport, artifacts, shoes, and balls from previous World Cup matches, and I have to admit, I was hooked!
They also had this really neat exhibit of football jerseys from around the world. Here’s me trying to take a pano shot from my iPhone.
It’s a little shaky, but as you can see, they have the jerseys grouped by color, and it looks like a gargantuan rainbow of shirts!
They chose the white US jersey for this exhibit. And yes, we wound up next to Turkmenistan. New Zealand was on our other side, but I didn’t get that in the shot and the husband wanted me to mention that there was a “not Turkmenistan” neighbor as well.
Am I going to become a football fan overnight? Probably not. I still have a lot of watching of games and research to do. This however, is going to help.