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debt and visitors FIFA world football museum battling debt

The museum was opened to great fanfare earlier in 2016

(Keystone)

FIFA’s museum of world football is creaking under a multi-million franc pile of debt. A specialist task force has been brought in to try and turn the venture’s profits around.

A report in German-language Swiss newspaper the Tages-Anzeiger on Wednesday claimed that the museum was CHF30 million ($30.3 million) in debt. The figure was confirmed on Thursday by FIFA spokeswoman, Delia Fischer. She told the newspaper it was open as to whether the museum will stay in its current physical form or not.

This come two weeks after the museum’s director, Stefan Jost, parted ways with the museum. In a statement at the time, FIFA cited “contrasting views on future plans” for the museum and said both sides “mutually agreed” on the decision.

However, the Swiss press had already reported on low visitor numbers at the high-profile project for football’s world governing body. It was opened in Zurich’s Enge district nine months ago.

Spokesman Marc Caprez told the newspaper they had on average 11,000 visitors per month, leading to an estimated yearly figure of 132,000. That’s 50% fewer than the 250,000 annual visitors FIFA had hoped for by 2018, according to its business plan for the project. The plan was put together during former president Sepp Blatter’s tenure.

The new FIFA Secretary General, Fatma Samoura, has been working on a remedial design. A task force has been set up to develop a sustainable business model for the museum, which also includes a bar. The task force is being headed up by Samoura’s deputy, Zvonimir Boban. Their findings will go to management in January 2017.  

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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