The original FIFA World Cup trophy, which resides at the World Football Museum in Zurich, is set for a global tour that will see it visit over 50 countries in six continents, the world football governing body has announced.
The tour, as presented by Coca cola, was launched when the President of FIFA, Gianni Infantino, presented the trophy to President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, whose country is the host of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
“The FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour is a milestone which beautifully showcases how much enthusiasm the greatest tournament on Earth can generate, and it is at the same time, an invitation to visit amazing Russia and enjoy Russia’s unique hospitality,” FIFA President, Infantino said.
“You cannot believe the excitement that will be built from those visits. If you have ever seen the marvelled look in the eyes of a football fan when being next to the FIFA World Cup Original Trophy, you know what I mean.”
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The tour kicks off in the Luzhniki Stadium, and will travel around 15 Russian cities before jetting off around the globe, with stops at former hosts of the FIFA World Cup, including the first African host of the tournament, South Africa.
“It is symbolic that the Tour, which precedes the grand celebration of football in 2018, starts here in the Luzhniki Stadium,” President of Russia, Putin said.
“This arena is associated with the names of remarkable athletes, outstanding achievements and the atmosphere of passion and bright moments.
“It deserves to be the main venue for the World Cup and such beautiful, comfortable and technically equipped arenas will await players and fans in every Russian Host City. We are preparing for the major football tournament with all the responsibility.”
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) September 9, 2017
On what they aim to achieve with the tour, main sponsor, Coca cola said, through the President of its Central and Eastern Europe business, Nikos Koumettis;
“With the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour, we are aiming to enable fans to create memorable experiences across Russia and throughout the world.
“We are pleased that we are joining forces with FIFA, the Local Organising Committee and the Ministry of Sport of the Russian Federation, so that The Coca-Cola System in Russia can use an extraordinary opportunity to promote youth football development with the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour.
“We will highlight the need for sports, and football in particular, to be inclusive and available to everyone – including people with physical or intellectual disabilities,” he added.
The trophy is expected back in Russia in May, month before main event kicks off, following what would be its longest trip in history.