KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: The controversial FIFA World Football Museum is finally showing signs of turning the corner.

The museum was a pet project of disgraced former FIFA president Sepp Blatter but the cost and low visitor numbers prompted a review of its existence ordered by successor Gianni Infantin.

The complication of the building contracts was one reason why FIFA decided to keeo the museum alive although that meant some ruthless scaling back in terms of cost and staffing.

Now the museum has reported an increase un visitor numbers for a second successive year, up to 161,700, while a further 33,600 attended Museum’s special exhibitions held abroad in 2019.

Managing director Marco Fazzone said: “We are delighted to have achieved the aim that we set ourselves two years ago, sustainably increasing the number of visitors that we receive in Zurich by realistic increments from year to year.

“When you consider that around 50% of our visitors are international, we have lived up to our goal to become a prominent tourist attraction for Zurich.”

Special exhibitions

The year 2019 also saw the 500,000th visitor through the doors in Zurich since the Museum was opened.

Between 28 February 2016 and 31 December 2019, 655,600 visitors came to see the exhibitions and events, both at the FIFA World Football Museum and around the world – 527,800 in Zurich and 127,800 abroad.

Special exhibitions outside Zurich included a one-off special about the Women’s World Cup. Then, to tie in with The Best FIFA Football Awards, the Gallerie d’Italia in Milan stagded The Winner’s Trophies, a week-long special exhibition.

Fazzone said: “Our exhibitions in Zurich and Paris helped to promote women’s football in 2019, and through our new acquisitions to the Museum’s collection we will continue build a greater awareness of the history of the women’s game.”