World Cup trophy lands in Dhaka
Rumour has it that the FIFA World Cup trophy was once stolen. Rumour also has it that a chunk of it came out while under possession of the then Italian captain Fabio Cannavaro, the night after their triumph in 2006. But those are only rumours, unfounded ones. Rumours tend to latch on to high profile and desirable objects whether there be any truth in them or not. The FIFA World Cup trophy, the most coveted prize in football and probably all of sport, has courted rumours ever since its creation in 1971 by the famed Italian designer Silvio Gazzaniga.
The truth is that the trophy was never stolen or broken, and remains under the vigilance of FIFA all the time. The truth is that the original FIFA World Cup trophy never toured Bangladesh before -- well, not before yesterday, when it came for its maiden visit to our country as part of its 267-day journey around 89 countries ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
The trophy spent a hectic first day in Bangladesh yesterday. It arrived from the United Arab Emirates on board an MD-83 aircraft -- liveried in the colours of Coca Cola and the 2014 WC host nation Brazil -- which touched down at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 12:35pm and was received by the Bangladesh Football Federation president Kazi Salahuddin and other BFF officials. After a short photo session, the trophy paid a courtesy call on the President of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, Advocate Abdul Hamid at his Bangabhaban residence and later paid a visit to the Prime Minister's residence, Ganabhaban.
As per FIFA protocol, only a head of state and the national football captain of a country can touch the gilded trophy on these tours. So at Bangabhaban the president laid his hands on the trophy while at Ganabhaban Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her family took pictures with the trophy. Salahuddin and national football coach Lodewijk de Kruif were also present on the occasion.
The trophy was then brought to the Radisson Blu Water Garden Hotel in the evening where it was officially unveiled before the media. The biggest prize of them all will spend the night at the hotel and will be on display at the hotel from 9:00am to 6:00pm today for ticket-holders.