Voice of a nation— Zürich


One of the few unifying experiences in multi-lingual Switzerland is Rainer Maria Salzgeber’s TV coverage of the national football team’s matches. The presenter says the sport can help the nation become more tolerant of different cultures.

Football, Language, National identity, Switzerland

It is difficult to put your finger on what defines national identity. When it comes to Switzerland, however, it is practically impossible. The country consists of 26 cantons, each with very individual political, historical and cultural backgrounds. The country even lacks a common language, with Italian, French, Romansch and German all spoken. “In fact,” says Rainer Maria Salzgeber, Switzerland’s most popular football tv-presenter, “the national football team is one of the few things the Swiss have in common.”

The 40-year-old has done his part in…

Running commentary

Rainer Maria Salzgeber’s CV

1969: Born in the Valais canton
1988: Plays in goal for lowly FC Raron for three years
1994: Quits history studies at the University of Bern to start a two-year internship at Swiss Television
1996: Attends the European Champion-ships in England as a commentator
2000: Presents European Championships in Belgium and Holland as TV anchor for the first time
2007: Presenter of Fifa Gala for World Player of the Year
2008: Wins the award for Swiss Sports Journalist of the Year for coverage of the European Championships

Switzerland’s highs and lows

World ranking: 18
Number of times qualified for World Cup: Nine
Highest finish: Reached the quarter-finals in 1934, 1938 and 1954
Average salary for first division footballer: €15,000 a month
Worst football moment: Losing to Ukraine in a shoot-out at the 2006 World Cup in Germany
Best football moment: Crushing Romania 4-1 at the US World Cup in 1994
Football hero: Current national captain and top goalscorer Alex Frei


0:00:00 0:01:00

Drag me