FIFA Museum launches its first global digital exhibition entitled “Origins: Pre-Histories of Football”

With a virtual interactive multimedia experience accessible around the globe, FIFA Museum has released the opening chapter of its first digital exhibition entitled “Origins: Pre-Histories of Football” on its official website

The FIFA Museum’s first digital exhibition, “Origins: Pre-Histories of Football” focuses on four different ball games from days gone by: the Mesoamerican ball game, Kemari in Japan, Cuju in China and the ball games of Ancient Greece and Rome. The Museum will reveal each of these four chapters over the next few weeks. From today, virtual visitors can enjoy the first part of this digital exhibition about the Japanese game Kemari by following the link below:

Association football, as we call it today, was born in London in 1863. Yet the question of what influenced the development and codification of the world’s biggest and most important sport is one that fascinates historians and football fans alike. What cultural traditions led certain people to “play” different ball games and others to watch them? Even though there is no indication of any direct link between these forerunners and the modern game, these pastimes demonstrate humanity’s innate predisposition to play with a ball, whether for social interaction, military training, as part of a ritual ceremony or simply as a way of entertaining themselves.

An exhibition founded on scientific research
“In our first digital exhibition, we relied upon the research and expertise of an international committee of scholars to investigate various ball sports from antiquity that we refer to as the pre-histories of football,” explained Marco Fazzone, Director of the FIFA Museum. “We decided to start with four examples in which ball games were a documented feature of society. The intention was not to ascribe a particular value or significance to a specific game, but instead to show how ball games have been part and parcel of daily life in every society. We can’t wait to launch our first digital exhibition on this fascinating and profound subject so that it can be accessed by people all over the world.”

To give this digital exhibition project a physical dimension, the Museum has developed a programme for schools in close collaboration with the education team at Zurich’s Museum Rietberg. In “Back to Origins: Discover the Old, Explore the New”, which runs from March to July 2022, schoolchildren will be able to learn more by following the discovery trail between the two museums. “We really appreciate this innovative collaboration,” said Emmanuel Bucher, Team Leader Education at the FIFA Museum. “It should allow many schoolchildren to learn more about humanity’s fascination with ball games in a playful way. We’re particularly excited about the participatory games that the classes will develop themselves and to see the new pastimes that emerge at the end of the project.”

The FIFA Museum in Zurich preserves and celebrates football’s rich cultural heritage. It features exhibitions and cultural events as well as educational programs to show how the world’s most popular sport inspires and connects people all over the world.