Whether you are a fanatical fan, a side line supporter or a lover of design, this summer’s visitors to Wolverhampton Art Gallery will have a ball discovering the remarkable design stories behind the world's number one sport.

Football: Designing the Beautiful Game is a large scale international touring exhibition from the Design Museum, London, which explores the design story behind football and surveys how design has been used to push the game to its technical and emotional limits. From the master planning of the world’s most significant football stadiums to the innovative materials used in today’s boots, the graphic design of team badges and the grassroots initiatives pushing back against the sport’s commercialisation, the exhibition will provide a rare and fun insight into the people and processes that have made football what it is today. 

Football is unquestionably the world’s most popular sport, with a dedicated fan base and a truly international reach. This world class touring exhibition comes direct to Wolverhampton from the FIFA Museum in Zurich and showcases over 200 objects on loan from The National Football Museum, Manchester, the FIFA Museum, Zurich and private lenders, including items worn or used by the likes of Stanley Matthews, Bryan Robson, Pelé, Lionel Messi, Maradona and many other soccer giants past and present. The show will also feature selected items from the Wolves Museum which reflect the rich history of football in the city and specially designed family friendly activities to add to the fun.

Football: Designing the Beautiful Game will kick off at Wolverhampton Art Gallery on Saturday 25 May and runs until Sunday 1 September. 

Alongside Football: Designing the Beautiful Game the Gallery will be screening a film by contemporary artists Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno. Their ambitious collaboration, Zidane, a 21st century portrait, follows the French football star Zinédine Zidane in real time over the course of a single match, which took place in 2005. Assembled from footage shot by seventeen synchronized cameras placed around the stadium, the film captures Zidane from multiple angles, from up close and afar, and remains steadfastly fixed on him even when the central action of the match moves elsewhere. 

The film will be screened from Saturday 29 June to Sunday 20 October, pre booking is advised.

City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for Visitor City, Councillor Bhupinder Gakhal, said: “Football is loved all around the world, but it isn’t just about what happens on the pitch. This exhibition showcases all the design elements of the game that so many people are passionate about.

“As well as a programme of events and activities, visitors to the exhibition will be able to explore the city’s world class collection of art and objects.” 

The exhibition has been made possible by funding and contributions from our partners, Arts Council England, Levelling Up - Funded by Government, Wolves Foundation and is free to enter. Pre booking is advised and  tickets can be booked via Football: Designing the Beautiful Game, a Design Museum Touring Exhibition.

The exhibition can be seen during gallery opening hours: Monday to Saturday (10.30am to 4.30pm) and Sunday (11am to 4pm).