Volume 93, Issue 2
Friday, May 21, 1999
Every four years, millions of soccer fans direct their attention to one place in the world, as countries begin to pursue the holy grail of soccer the Federation Internationale de Football Association World Cup Trophy.
In 1996, France battled for the right to hoist the trophy over their heads. But unbeknownst to some, the trophy has an interesting, and at times weird, history which all begins with the formation of FIFA.
The World Cup of Soccer began with the formation of FIFA in Amsterdam in 1928. The new organization was created to hold a worldwide championship in soccer. Despite a lack of support from the International Olympic Committee, FIFA persevered and the first World Cup was held in 1930. The prize was a beautifully sculpted trophy 35 cm high, made of sterling silver, gold plated and created by French sculptor Abel Lafleur.
Throughout the following years, the trophy would be the subject of great myth and legend. During the Second World War, legend has it the Italian vice-president of FIFA, Ottorino Barassi, hid the hallowed trophy from occupying troops in a shoebox. Later, as the smoke cleared in Europe after the war, the trophy was given the name Coupe Jules Rimet, in honour of the founder of the World Cup.
The trophy became one of the most sought after prizes in sports, while soccer's popularity continued to grow throughout the world. The trophy itself became such a prize that in 1966 it was stolen in England.
In what would become one of the most bizarre moments in sport history, the cup was later found by a dog named Pickles. However in 1983, and with Pickles long since gone to doggie heaven, the Coupe Jules Rimet finally met its end in Rio de Janeiro where it was stolen and supposedly melted down by thieves.
Today there is a new trophy to replace the old. It is made of a solid 18 carat gold and weighs 4,970 grams. It has taken the place of its predecessor as the most hallowed trophy in soccer.
Despite the loss of the old trophy and its replacement with a new one, the impact of both the trophy and the world cup is still far reaching, as soccer remains one of the most popular games in the world.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999