Fifa museum not under threat of closure, says its director

Fifa's World Football Museum in Zurich, a landmark project of disgraced former president Sepp Blatter, is not under threat of closure despite a new round of redundancies according to its director.

Fifa museum not under threat of closure, says its director
A portrait of former Fifa boss Sepp Blatter at the museum in Zurich. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
A total of 36 jobs will be cut by June in the latest round of redundancies at the Zurich museum which only opened in February last year, but Marc Caprez insisted world football's governing body would find a way of making it “sustainable”.
“No, the museum is not struggling just to survive,” he told AFP just as several sources have claimed that Fifa had already taken the decision to cut their losses and close the museum.
Current president Gianni Infantino inaugurated the museum shortly after being elected to succeed the disgraced Blatter, who was suspended from football for six years over a two million Swiss franc ($2 million/1.8 million euro) payment to then Uefa boss Michel Platini.
Fifa invested 140 million Swiss francs (130.5 million euros, $138.6 million) in the museum, which is spread over three floors and 3000m2. 
Since opening it has attracted an average of 11,000 visitors a month, barely half the target of 250,000 visitors per year.
The 36 jobs to be axed will come from the catering service, which museum management now intends to restructure and outsource.
Caprez added: “Fifa set up a Task Force at the end of 2016 in order to fully review operations at the museum and consider a new model aimed at ensuring financial stability and transforming the Fifa World Football Museum into a sustainable investment to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.
“The Task Force is still working and will communicate as soon as the results are clear.”

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Trial over 2006 German World Cup corruption opens in Switzerland

Three former German football officials and ex-FIFA Secretary General Urs Linsi went on trial on Monday in Switzerland over suspicions that Germany bought votes to obtain the 2006 World Cup.

Trial over 2006 German World Cup corruption opens in Switzerland

The three defendants have indicated that they will not be present at the hearing in Bellinzona for a variety of reasons, including fear of travelling because of coronavirus contagion.

Swiss Linsi, 70, former German Football Association (DFB) presidents Wolfgang Niersbach, 69, and Theo Zwanziger, 74, and 78-year-old former DFB General Secretary Horst R. Schmidt are being prosecuted for “fraud”.

They are accused by the Swiss Federal Prosecutor's Office (BA) of concealing from the DFB the true destination of a transfer of 6.7 million euros ($7.6 million today), paid in 2005 by the organising committee to former Adidas boss, the late Robert Louis-Dreyfus, via FIFA.

The case of former World Cup organising committee chairman Franz Beckenbauer is being heard separately because of the former Germany captain's poor health.

The investigation was prompted by a report in German publication Der Spiegel in 2015 that Germany had used a secret fund of 10 million Swiss francs (6.7 million euros at the time) to buy votes and obtain the rights to host the competition at the expense of South Africa.

Beckenbauer is suspected of having asked Louis-Dreyfus, to contribute to this fund shortly before the vote on the host in the summer of 2000.

Louis-Dreyfus was allegedly reimbursed by the German Football Association on the pretext of expenses related to a FIFA gala evening, which ever took place.

Zwanziger, Niersbach and Schmidt have also been charged with tax fraud in Germany and the case is expected to come to trial in the coming months. cpb/pb/td