Why is there an OM football in the collections?

“In respect of sport, the MuCEM primarily preserves relics of what might be called ‘pre-sports’, meaning traditional games like soule, which can be considered an ancestor of football and rugby. For example, we have objects and documents linked to water tournaments, archery and Breton wrestling.

The subject opened up to the contemporary world thanks to a collection acquired in 1998, relating to FIFA’s communication campaign for the 1998 Football World Cup in France. This was followed by a collection survey of board sports in the 2000s, when objects relating to surfing and especially skateboarding were acquired, from the worlds of both street boarding and competitive riding. In particular, this work resulted in the acquisition of archives of skateboarding and its growth in France in the 1970s and 1980s.

Because of this, the museum’s reserves at the Centre for Conservation and Resources in the Belle de Mai district now include longboards, medals and other athletic awards, and even a board that formerly belonged to Tony Hawk! Today, the institution’s acquisitions policy is coming full circle, newly reoriented towards the most popular sport in the Mediterranean: football.

Thanks to a programme of collection surveys conducted on the subject of ‘Football & Identities’ and acquisitions from the art market and directly from collectors, the Mucem is in the process of building up a real heritage collection relating to the popular culture associated with football in the Mediterranean.

In fact, we are still on the lookout for objects, supporters and professional footballers. We are particularly interested in the personal anecdotes behind objects from the world of football: through scarves, balls, photographs, shirts, and press articles, we consider this heritage to be rooted in the meaning that people give those items.”

Florent Molle, Mucem Heritage Curator and Head of the Sport & Health Section.