Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The FIFA World Cup for real

In a first of its kind, theofficial World Cup football trophy will be on display in Indiain April next year, it was decided in a meeting on thesidelines of the ongoing 59th FIFA Congress in The Bahamas. For football lovers in India, starved of seeing thenational team at the World Cup stage, this could be theirfirst chance to catch a glimpse of the trophy which shows twohuman figures holding the earth. In 2004, India had managed to witness a replica of theFIFA World Cup but according to information received from TheBahamas, this time it will be the original trophy visiting thecountry on April 20-21. FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valeke and Director ofMarketing Thiery Weil along with Amber Steele, DirectorMarketing of Coca Cola, held a meeting with officials of AllIndia Football Federation -- senior vice-president SubrataDutta and treasurer Hardev Jadeja -- on the sidelines of the59th FIFA Congress yesterday. "There it was decided that from September 2009 the trophywill start touring all the 54 African countries beforetravelling to 32 other nations including India," Dutta toldPTI over phone from Paradise Island, The Bahamas. "The trophy will be on display at the Capital on April 20before moving to Kolkata the next day. From there it will beflown to Japan," Dutta informed. South Africa, the hosts of the 2010 World Cup will be itsfinal destination. All cost for the event in India is likely to be borne byCoca Cola, the official partner of FIFA. A Coca Cola spokesperson confirmed the official trophywill indeed be on display in India. "Yes, it will be the real FIFA World Cup which will be ondisplay in India and not the replica," said the spokespersonof the company's India chapter. Among matters discussed with AIFF officials were ways to
promote the event and display the trophy. According to Dutta, a massive celebration is beingplanned at the airport when it reaches here. There is likelyto be media interactions, dinners and event promotions duringthe trophy's two-day stay in India. An opportunity for football lovers to take pictures withthe trophy is also being explored. FIFA's decision to bring the official World Cup trophy toIndia also shows the importance football's governing bodyattaches to the country's development in the game as part ofits 'Win in India with India' project which has seen FIFAalready allocating 10 astroturfs to the country. The FIFA World Cup is made of 18 carat solid gold and hasa base of malachite. The cup, which first came into existencein the 1974 World Cup after Brazil won the Jules Rimet trophypermanently, was designed by Italian Silvio Gazzaniga andweighs 6.175kg.

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