A-N-A-T-O-M-I-Z-E Football

The story of the Fifa World Cup trophy

Tomorrow evening, France will take on Croatia for the ultimate prize in all of sport: the football world cup. The 88-year-old quadrennial tournament is the last word in prestige, respect, pride, yada yada yada. But, above and beyond all the associated spoils of the World Cup is one iconic object: the World Cup trophy itself.

Its history is quite the exciting tale of power, politics, heist, disguises, absurd recoveries — involving a dog named Pickles, I kid you not — and the lot. To be clear, there hasn’t been one trophy.

The first trophy given out was the Jules Rimet trophy, from 1930 to 1970, and the current, more familiar one, from 1974 onwards.

Named after the then Fifa President and progenitor of the football World Cup, Jules Rimet, the original trophy went through the Great Depression, two World Wars, a few cold ones, the Independence and Partition of India, and maybe even the invention of sliced bread, who knows. The 14-inch-high statuette showed the Greek Goddess of victory, Nike, holding up a bowl, and was called ‘Victory’. Before WWII broke out, the then Vice-President of Fifa, Ottorino Barassi, secretly shipped the trophy from a bank, to prevent Nazis getting to it, and hid it in a shoe box under his bed.

Years later, months before the 1966 edition, the trophy was stolen from an exhibition. It was found later that month, underneath a garden hedge, wrapped in newspaper, by the aforementioned collie, Pickles.

After Brazil won the trophy for the third time, in 1970, the Jules Rimet was handed over to them permanently, after which the current trophy was commissioned. Showing two athletes holding up a globe, a replica was made for public showcases to avoid a repeat of the 1966 fiasco. But the fiasco repeated itself in 1983, when it was stolen from Rio de Janeiro. And sadly, with Pickles’ demise in 1967, it has stayed lost.

Contrary to a lot of popular wisdom, the current trophy is said to be hollow, and weighs around 6 kg. Every edition, a brass replica is made in Paderno Dugnano, near Milan, by GDE Bertoni. Complete with a varnish, a galvanisation, and a green malachite marble base, this is as good as trophies get. If only Messi ever lifted the damn thing.

— Designed by Italian artist Silvio Gazzaniga in 1971

— The original, made of 18 karat gold, is stored in the FIFA World Football Museum in Zurich

— A gold base at the bottom bears the names of the winners

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Mar 9, 2021 4:36:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/the-story-of-the-fifa-world-cup-trophy/article24409896.ece

Next Story