Football’s most coveted prize, the World Cup will make Colombo, Sri Lanka one of its destinations in the around-the-world journey which will begin on 22nd January 2018.
The tour will reach 52 countries in the run-up to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, which starts on the 14th of June next year. Apart from Sri Lanka, the trophy will visit only two other South Asian countries, Pakistan and Maldives.
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The Original Trophy, which is usually kept at the FIFA World Football Museum in Zurich, will visit these countries on six continents. The FIFA World Cup™ Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola was officially launched when FIFA President Gianni Infantino presented President of Russia Vladimir Putin with the trophy in the Host Nation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup™.
“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,” Infantino said.
This will be a very special occasion for Sri Lanka as the trophy comes to the Island Nation for the first time ever. The Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) officials and the sponsors of this historic event met the President Mathripala Sirisena yesterday at his residence and informed him officially in this regard. Also in attendance were Director General of Sports Saman Bandara, National Athletics Selection Committee Chairman Gen. Daya Ratnayake and FFSL General Secretary Jaswar Umar.
FFSL President Anura De Silva sharing his thoughts with ThePapare.com,
It is a great honour for us to witness the prestigious trophy of the biggest tournament in world sports and to be the first country to display this magnificent trophy. All the necessary arrangements are being done and we are also hoping to use this opportunity to announce our future development plans.
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The iconic trophy will reach Sri Lanka on the 23rd of January 2018 and will be officially handed over to President Maithripala Sirisena. BMICH will be the venue where the trophy will be displayed for public view on January 24. Later in the evening it will be taken to its next destination Maldives.
The tour stopped off in 15 Russian cities from September to December: Krasnoyarsk, Omsk, Chelyabinsk, Ufa, Perm, Saransk, Yaroslavl, Kaliningrad, Tula, Kursk, Voronezh, Saratov, Volgograd, Krasnodar and Sochi ending the 1st leg of Russia.
In January, the trophy will set off around the world, including to previous FIFA World Cup™ Hosts, such as Germany, South Africa, Japan, France among other countries, before returning to Russia in May, one month before the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ kicks off. The Russian route will be an historic one: a 123-day journey covering more than 26,000 km, making it the longest trip in the history of the Tour. The Trophy will visit 24 Russian cities, from Vladivostok in the far east to Kaliningrad, the most westerly of the Host Cities.
On 22 January, the international leg of the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour™ by Coca-Cola kicks off in London, United Kingdom before visiting 52 countries on all six continents. The FIFA World Cup Trophy will return to Russia in May 2018, when it will visit nine more cities: Vladivostok, Novosibirsk, Ekaterinburg, Samara, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Saint Petersburg and Moscow.