ZURICH: The FIFA Museum welcomed a record 273,000 visitors last year, the highest number since its opening in Zurich eight years ago. A further 350,000 online visitors explored the museum’s digital exhibitions, while six million fans around the world engaged with the museum’s cultural and educational content over the course of the year. 

Managing director Marco Fazzone said: “We are delighted to have connected with a vast community of football and culture lovers, both in person and through our digital platforms. The year 2023 was highly successful in carrying out the FIFA Museum’s mission and responsibility to share the magic of football with the entire world.

“In addition to our permanent exhibition, we highlighted milestones in women’s football, showcased 211 football cultures, explored the intersection of design and the beautiful game, expanded our global outreach and embraced technological innovation. The surge in visitor numbers, along with our international resonance and growth, underscores our unwavering commitment to celebrating and safeguarding football heritage and culture on a truly global scale.” 

The museum’s diverse programme began in February with the guest exhibition “Paolo Rossi, un Ragazzo d’oro”, in collaboration with the Paolo Rossi Foundation, offering an intimate portrayal of the life and illustrious career of the Italian football legend.

The special exhibition “211 Cultures. One Game”, which explored the unique football cultures of each of FIFA’s 211 member associations, concluded in August.

This was followed by “Designing the Beautiful Game”, a collaboration with the Design Museum in London, which opened in October- and will run until spring 2024, examining the relationship between football and design throughout history and illuminating how the sport has evolved.

The museum also embraced the digital realm with the launch of its first virtual reality experience. Using state-of-the-art technology, the experience transports visitors into the historic atmosphere of the Estadio Centenario during the inaugural FIFA World Cup™ in 1930 and takes them on the iconic journey of the SS Conte Verde, the ship that brought the then FIFA President Jules Rimet and teams from Europe and Brazil to Uruguay for the tournament.

The museum offers free entry to its exhibitions in Zurich for school classes from around the world (pre-registration is required), and more than 7,000 school children explored the FIFA Museum’s educational programme in 2023.

The museum also hosted popular public screenings of every match at the landmark FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™.

Presented by Hyundai and showcased at the FIFA Fan Festival™ in Sydney/Gadigal’s Tumbalong Park, the FIFA Museum’s special exhibition, “Calling the Shots: Faces of Women’s Football”, attracted over 50,000 visitors in four weeks during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023. The exhibition celebrated the individuals who made the women’s game what it is today and inspired a new generation to lace up their boots.

This marked the FIFA Museum’s fourth on-site exhibition in the host country at a FIFA World Cup or FIFA Women’s World Cup™, with previous exhibitions including “The History Makers” in Moscow in 2018, “The Women’s Game” in Paris in 2019, and “Goals Create History” in Doha in 2022.

New permanent exhibition in Madrid

In a ground breaking move, the FIFA Museum expanded its international reach in 2023 by opening its first permanent exhibition abroad. In collaboration with LEGENDS and located in the Spanish capital of Madrid, the experience is dedicated to the history of the FIFA World Cup and the FIFA Women’s World Cup, with fascinating match-worn and original objects on display.

“The opening of our first permanent exhibition outside of Zurich was a significant milestone for the FIFA Museum – a crucial step in our global strategy that allows us to share football history, heritage and culture with an even broader audience worldwide,” said Fazzone.