First FIFA Museum Conference brings directors and key figures together to commit on celebrating football heritage globally

Following a two-day virtual conference hosted by the FIFA Museum, a leading group of directors and key figures from the football museum sector agreed on the importance of collaboration and forging closer connections in order to safeguard football history, heritage and culture.

The conference was initiated by Marco Fazzone, Managing Director of the FIFA Museum in Zurich, with the aim of bringing these representatives together to share knowledge about their national football museums and cultural initiatives, encourage the active exchange of ideas and experience, and provide support between peers internationally.

For the first edition, which was hosted digitally, nine key figures participated from around the world. The selection criteria for this initial year included – thus, invitations went out to – museums and cultural initiatives from all countries whose FIFA member association have previously won the FIFA World Cup™ or the FIFA Women’s World Cup™.

The representatives involved in the conference were:
- Djorn Buchholz, Executive Director, National Soccer Hall of Fame (USA)
- Tim Desmond, CEO, National Football Museum (UK)
- Ricardo Juan Lombardo Capdevielle, President, Museo Del Futbol (Uruguay)
- Kuniya Daini, Director, Japan Football Museum (Japan)
- Manuel Neukirchner, Director, DFB-Stiftung Deutsches Fussballmuseum (Germany)
- Dag Solheim, Former Museum Director, Norges Fotballforbund (Norway)
- Xavier Thébault, Cultural Heritage Manager, FFF (France)
- Maurizio Francini, Director, Fondazione Museo del Calcio (Italy)
- Marco Fazzone, Managing Director FIFA Museum, FIFA (Switzerland)

“It was an honour and one of the biggest goals of the FIFA Museum to launch and present this conference, bringing the sector together for the first time. I would like to thank all representatives involved in the conference for their participation and for taking this first significant step together. It is important to celebrate and preserve football heritage and culture as football connects and inspires the world, uniting nations and bringing continents together. Whether you are a fan or not, football touches lives and brings joy,” said Marco Fazzone.

The vision of FIFA 2.0 is “Making Football Truly Global”, and FIFA supported the FIFA Museum’s initiative to launch the conference for international football museum directors and cultural initiative representatives. The FIFA Museum believes it has a responsibility to fans globally to support the preservation and protection of football heritage and culture, including documenting football history and identifying opportunities to reflect on and increase the visibility of the different individual national football cultures.

The first FIFA Museum Conference provided the opportunity for the participants to meet, many for the first time, to learn about one another’s museums and cultural activities, as well as their different approaches to preserving and showcasing their unique national football histories. Representatives spoke about the distinctive identity of football and sports museums and their particular opportunities and challenges as cultural institutions. The discussions ranged from iconic moments and special educational programmes to cutting-edge facial recognition technology and personalising visitor experiences.

Participants discussed different ways to bring audiences the physicality, passion and participatory nature of football within the cultural setting of a museum, from events and education to special artefacts and informative displays to physical and digital experiences. They agreed that the game offers an opportunity to reflect on history, society and culture, and to engage audiences from different generations and backgrounds, through the diverse stories of its players, teams and competitions.

This first edition of the conference created a framework for future editions and there was consensus to create an annual gathering of football museums, with the ambition to include representatives from all 211 FIFA member associations in the future.

This first step towards ongoing cooperation and collaboration established numerous ideas and objectives, including the creation of a digital platform to share resources and keep discussions alive, as well as the potential to develop a global network of football museums. The conference reflected the participants’ aims to work towards possible joint exhibitions, establishing shared museum, collection and archive standards, and the continued exchange of knowledge across their cultural work.

The next FIFA Museum Conference is scheduled to take place on 26-27 October 2021.