13 November 2013
The Fifa World Cup trophy will return to South Africa in December for the first time in nearly four years as part of a global tour which will see the biggest prize in world football visiting 88 countries in 267 days.
South Africans caught their last glimpse of the magnificent 18-carat gold sculpture when it was being held aloft by victorious Spain at the conclusion of the 2010 Fifa World Cup at Soccer City in Johannesburg on 11 July 2010.
Now it will return from 1 to 3 December on its way to its final destination, Brazil, for the next global showpiece tournament that gets under way in June next year.
Dignitaries from across South Africa will welcome the trophy in a true Brazilian-style ceremony at Lanseria Airport in Johannesburg on 1 December. Samba dancers and Fuleco, the 2014 Fifa World Cup mascot, are expected to add to the excitement.
South Africans will have a chance to see and be seen with one of sport’s greatest emblem at the Southgate Shopping Centre in Johannesburg from 11:00 to 19:00 on 2 and 3 December.
Fans will also have an opportunity to have souvenir photos of themselves taken with the trophy, view a special hologram animation showcasing memorable moments of the Fifa World Cup, participate in interactive displays, and enjoy other entertainment.
The Fifa World Cup Trophy Tour will surely bring back special memories for fans of the magnificent finals held in South Africa in 2010, which was the first time ever that the World Cup had been staged on the African continent.
The event provided South Africa with the ultimate football party and the country’s citizens came together in a spirit of nation-building.
The trophy itself is the second to be handed to the winners of the Fifa World Cup. The original prize, named the Jules Rimet Trophy after the French football administrator who is credited with developing the concept of the World Cup tournament, was given to the Brazilian Football Confederation to keep after the country won its third World Cup title in 1970.
A new trophy was commissioned, and after a total of 53 designs were submitted to Fifa by experts from seven countries, with the final choice being the work of Italian artist Silvio Gazzaniga.
“The lines spring out from the base, rising in spirals, stretching out to receive the world. From the remarkable dynamic tensions of the compact body of the sculpture raise the figures of two athletes at the stirring moment of victory,” Gazzaniga said of his work.
The new trophy is 36 centimetres high, made of solid 18-carat gold and weighs 6 175 grams. The base contains two layers of semi-precious malachite, while the bottom side of the trophy bears the engraved year and name of each Fifa World Cup winner since 1974.
The Fifa World Cup Trophy Tour will cover a total distance of 149 576 kilometres. In other words, more than three times the circumference of earth.
It began its journey in Rio de Janeiro on 12 September, departing from the famous Christ the Redeemer statue, and will travel around the world for nine months before returning to Brazil.