The status of football as the world’s most popular sport can be explained by the limited number of objects required to play it: something round and markers for goalposts.
But if a country was to select a single object to represent its relationship with the beautiful game, which would they choose? It’s a question the FIFA Museum in Zurich, Switzerland, posed to each of its 211 member associations last year. The answers are presented in “211 Cultures. One Game,” the museum’s first collaborative exhibition due to run until August 2023.
The exhibition has opened days ahead of the World Cup Qatar 2022, which kicks off with the host nation playing Ecuador on November 20. Although only 32 nations qualified for Qatar, “211 Cultures. One Game” shows the truly diverse and global reach of football.
Highlights include Guam’s trophy for the first Marianas Cup carved from the country’s national tree, a Spanish table football set created during its Civil War (1936–39) for injured soldiers, and the tiara worn by Canadian forward Christine Sinclair upon becoming the all-time top scorer in international football. The exhibition also has interactive elements including an installation that recreates the intensity of a match-day experience and a quiz featuring questions from all 211 FIFA members.
“As the home for global football history, heritage, and culture, it is part of our mission to represent all of FIFA’s 211 member associations,” said Marco Fazzone, FIFA Museum director. “Each of the associations has its own distinct football culture revolving around the magic on the pitch and the shared histories and experiences that bond fans together.”
See some of the exhibition’s objects below.