Posted: 4/19/2017


            If you go to the Urbis building in Cathedral Gardens in the centre of Manchester, across from Manchester Victoria station you will find The National Football Museum, with 4 floors of exhibits, and fun and games for all ages. It's ABSOLUTELY FREE like many English museums. Opened in a corner of Deepdale Stadium in 2001, the home of Preston North End, it was moved to central Manchester with an offer of a 2 million a year grant from Manchester City Council in 2012.

            It has been a great success with 537, 000 or more visitors annually,  over 6 times the annual total in Preston. There is a shop and a cafe and plans for a restaurant to open next month, run by the folks at the Hotel Football on Sir Alex Ferguson Way next to Old Trafford. I visit many times a year and always take visitors from abroad from Norway, USA, Germany, Serbia, Iceland and more...and they all love it.

           Contrast it with the big mistake in Zurich - a grandiose loss making relic.  It had a start up budget of $140 million and the entry price is $35.00, the same as the Zurich Zoo next the FIFA HQ.  Perhaps you remember the embarrasing movie UNITED PASSIONS, funded by Sepp Blatter's administration at a cost of $27 million, without the consent of the FIFA Exco or Congress. Its opening weekend gross world wide was $607.00.!!  Jules Rimet was played by Gerard Depardieu, Joao Havelange, -Sam Neil, Sepp Blatter-Tim Roth.

            The theme of the FIFA Museum  is the history of FIFA and the once beautiful game concentrating on the tournaments from 1966 in England up to FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa and its dodgy financing and now half empty stadiums. This week I read that there are charges against politicians and cronies of HALF of Brazil 2014 stadium projects in Sao Paulo- Arena Cornthians; Rio de Janeiro-Maracana; , Manaus, Recife, Fortaleza and Brasilia..The museum is losing over $500,000 a week with projections of 250,000 visitors a year failing to reach 100,000. Of course Zurich is not a great international tourist destination with no major international class club to bring in huge numbers of visitors. You can visit the girlie bars and street walkers near Limmatquai and get 'entertainment' for the same price as the FIFA Pleasure Palace. on Seestrasse 7 8002 Zurich.. S bahn or tram to Bahnhof Enge.

            It opened last February and its director Stefan Jost has already resigned, 8 months later, citing differences with the FIFA heirarchy. While FIFA is shedding lots of jobs at HQ after making a $400 million loss last year, with pay offs, American lawyers and impending law suits, its future is bleak.   FIFA deputy secretary Zvonimir Boban  says that it was not set up in a financially responsible manner. A secret spy camera was set up opposite the drinks station, showing that museum staff were averaging 3 free bottles a day.

            It's saddled with a 40 year lease on the building which has expensive offices and apartments above the museum and a 4 star hotel. ' FIFA HOTEL ASCOT' with expensive rooms, starting at about $250.00 a night,  but not luxurious enough for the free spending FIFA Excos who have been accustomed to the 5 plus star Baur au Lac  with ridiculously priced rooms and swanky suites, plus $35.00 extra for  breakfast.