Ruler’s of the magical ‘beautiful game’ and world-renowned for their innate permeating corruption, FIFA, the international federation of football, have become synonymous with increasing distrust. As both pioneers and purveyors of profit, each of the board members are the architects of the organisation’s downfall.
It was fitting then that its own flashy boardroom was modelled on the war room from Stanley Kubrick’s satirical war drama Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Featuring a large circular table and matching light display overhead, Kubrick even insisted that the table in his film featured green felt fabric to give the feeling that the war generals in the film were gambling with the fate of the world. Such makes the link to FIFA that much more amusing.
Designed by Ken Adam, widely recognised as one of the best set-designers in filmmaking for work on such films as Dr. No, Goldfinger, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Around the World in 80 Days. Explaining to QZ, Adam’s stated, “The vision of the war room was something that I purely invented because I didn’t have any real reference”. However, his final design became influential, and the blueprint for boardroom designs across the world, including for FIFA, the 2009 G20 summit in Pennsylvania, and Putin’s military command centre.
The world-famous designer was also particularly amused by one specific story from a former US president, reporting, “When Ronald Reagan became president of the United States he asked the chief of staff to show him the war room of Dr. Strangelove…He believed it was in the Pentagon”.
In 1964, when Dr.Strangelove was released, nuclear combat and the threat of “The Bomb” were a common subject of serious discussion.
Soviet/U.S. conflicts and nuclear capabilities made the complete destruction of the planet a genuine possibility. Kubrick took the nuclear threat seriously, read extensively on the subject, and devised a dramatic thriller based on a possible scenario in which nuclear warheads are detonated through a series of high-level errors.
Without considering the satirical complications of copying such an iconic boardroom design, it looks as though FIFA is forever stuck with a monument to their own corrupt behaviour.