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Journey through football history

Published: Friday 1 October 2004, 23.00CET
The UEFA Jubilee exhibition opens to the public at the Roi Baudouin stadium in Brussels today.
Published: Friday 1 October 2004, 23.00CET

Journey through football history

The UEFA Jubilee exhibition opens to the public at the Roi Baudouin stadium in Brussels today.

By Simon Hart in Brussels

Black-and-white pictures of Marilyn Monroe and Real Madrid CF play on the screen and transport you back to the 1950s. It is the beginning of UEFA's 50 years and the European Champion Clubs' Cup is as new as that strange music the youngsters are listening to called rock and roll.

Full of memories
The ensuing five decades pass in a blur of great players, games and goals, intermingled with era-defining footage of everything from The Beatles to the Berlin Wall. It is a journey full of memories and it is just one of the features of UEFA's Jubilee exhibition, which opens to the public in the Roi Baudouin stadium in Brussels on Monday.

European Parliament
For the past two weeks the exhibition has been at the European Parliament in the city and its switch to the national stadium will be marked by a reception on Monday to which UEFA has invited 15 former Belgian internationals, including the country's Golden Player of the past 50 years, Paul Van Himst, as well as Michel D'Hooghe of the UEFA Executive Committee.

After leaving Brussels on 8 October, the exhibition will move to the English National Football Museum in Preston, which has provided UEFA with all manner of accompanying memorabilia. There are old shirts and match programmes while a pair of 19th century shinpads - worn outside the socks - look sturdy enough to protect against a cricket ball. Even Eric Cantona makes an appearance, albeit it in the rubbery form of his puppet from the satirical British television programme Spitting Image.

Words and pictures
At the heart of the exhibition, however, is a series of display panels, which, in words and pictures, tell the story of UEFA. It starts thus: "UEFA was born in Basel at the time of the 1954 [FIFA] World Cup." You learn below how the introduction of floodlights, growth of air travel and expansion of television brought "a new lease of life to the game".

Wide range of activities
The history of UEFA's competitions - notably the UEFA European Championship and European Cup - is recounted but the exhibition also serves to explain UEFA's social function. Keith Cooper, UEFA's Jubilee co-ordinator, explained that its aim was to "show the wide range of UEFA's activities that most people don't readily appreciate".

Experience accumulated
Cooper said: "We can show how the size and success of the competitions provides more resources for the development and success of the other non-competitive activities. That and the responsible manner in which UEFA goes about administrating European football, the experience accumulated over 50 years and the importance of being allowed to maintain its authority within the game."

Hat Trick
The exhibition duly includes panels explaining UEFA's work in promoting grassroots football ('Cultivating the roots'), fighting racism ('One Game, Many Colours'), and encouraging women's football ('Gentleman and Ladies') and also disabled football ('Everyone can play'). 'HatTrick', meanwhile, has nothing to do with scoring feats but explains rather how UEFA's resources are spread among the member associations by its latest assistance programme - the distribution over the next four years of around €250m worth of income from UEFA EURO 2004™.

The Jubilee exhibition runs from 4-8 October at the Roi Baudoin stadium

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