History of World Cup Trophy

Eye on the Prize
The adventures of sporting world's principal trophy
The football FIFA World Cup Trophy has always been in a league by itself among other sports trophies, revered by footballers and fans alike. The copious myths and legends surrounding football's No. 1 prize will often inspire athletes to do great deeds. "How did the FIFA World Cup Trophy come to be?" "Who created it?" "What is the history behind it?"
All the fans of the squadra azzurra were jubilant when Dino Zoff, Italy's greatest goalkeeper and then-national team captain, lifted up that FIFA World Cup Trophy in 1982. But one Italian, the sculptor Silvio Gazzaniga, probably felt even more elated than the footballers and the tifosi. He had been invited to a live talk show on national television as the creator of the FIFA World Cup Trophy.
All the fans of the squadra azzurra were jubilant when Dino Zoff, Italy's greatest goalkeeper and then-national team captain, lifted up that FIFA World Cup Trophy in 1982. But one Italian, the sculptor Silvio Gazzaniga, probably felt even more elated than the footballers and the tifosi. He had been invited to a live talk show on national television as the creator of the FIFA World Cup Trophy.
Italian national team captain Dino Zoff with FIFA World Cup trophy, following Italy's win against Germany in the final of the 1982 World Cup in Madrid, Spain
Italian national team captain Dino Zoff with FIFA World Cup trophy, following Italy's win against Germany in the final of the 1982 World Cup in Madrid, Spain
"My hands were shaking from excitement," Gazzaniga would later recall. "In the video, you can tell I'm pressing the palm of my one hand to the table with the palm of the other. I was overwhelmed with excitement from the game that night, then they pulled me into the TV on top of it."
"My hands were shaking from excitement," Gazzaniga would later recall. "In the video, you can tell I'm pressing the palm of my one hand to the table with the palm of the other. I was overwhelmed with excitement from the game that night, then they pulled me into the TV on top of it."
But the highest prize in football did not always look the way it looks now.
The Jules Rimet Cup
The story of the Golden Goddess
The Jules Rimet Cup
The story of the Golden Goddess
The Jules Rimet Cup, originally named Victory, was awarded to FIFA World Cup™ winners until 1970. The third FIFA President, Jules Rimet, passed the vote to initiate the first global football championship in 1929. A year later, he would be awarding the Cup to the Uruguay team, the first World Cup winners in history. The Cup was renamed in honour of Jules Rimet after the Second World War.
Third FIFA President Jules Rimet presents the Jules Rimet Cup to President of the Uruguayan Football Association, Paul Jude, following Uruguay's win over Argentina in the World Cup 1930 final, 30 July 1930
Third FIFA President Jules Rimet presents the Jules Rimet Cup to President of the Uruguayan Football Association, Paul Jude, following Uruguay's win over Argentina in the World Cup 1930 final, 30 July 1930
Designed by French sculptor Abel Lafleur, the Cup depicted the ancient Greek goddess of victory, holding a decagonal cup aloft. The statuette, weighing 3.8kg, was made of gold-plated sterling silver on a base of lapis lazuli. The trophy was nicknamed "Golden Goddess."

On the gold plaques affixed to each of the four sides of the Cup's base, the names of the nations were engraved that had won the World Cups from 1930 to 1970: Uruguay (1930, 1950), Italy (1934, 1938), Germany (1954), England (1966) and Brazil (1958, 1962, 1970).

Having won its third FIFA World Cup, the 9th editon in Mexico in June 1970, the Brazil team earned the right to keep the Cup in perpetuity, according to the then-current FIFA regulations.

It was only fair that the Cup was named after Rimet, the third President of FIFA, who had stood at the helm of FIFA for 33 years, following his appointment in 1921. It is to Jules Rimet that the world owes its first global football tournament. He had negotiated long and hard with top government officials, football federations and national teams. Rimet's obsession with the idea kept him on track until the first World Cup materialised in Uruguay in 1930. While leading FIFA, Rimet succeeded in boosting football's popularity dramatically worldwide, establishing the national team tournament as the premier four-year football highlight, and strengthening FIFA's authority. FIFA listed 56 member nations in 1954, when Rimet resigned from the office of President, nearly a triple of its early 1920s membership.
Three thefts and a dog
Three thefts and a dog
The Jules Rimet Cup embarked on its maiden voyage to Uruguay aboard a transatlantic liner, the Conte Verde, in 1930. Interestingly, the legendary Russian opera singer Pyotr Shaliapin also travelled aboard the Conte Verde for his South American tour that year.

The Cup was held by 1938 winners Italy when World War II broke out. Italy was no place for a valuable trophy amid the tumult of the pre-war months, so Ottorino Barassi, President of the Italian Football Federation, decided to hide it in a way that would look like a theft. He secretly removed the cup from the bank vault, and hid it in a shoebox under his bed, hoping that the Nazis would not find it there. The cup was saved and, come 1950, awarded to the Uruguay team, the first post-war winners, again.
Italy team captain Giuseppe Meazza receives the Jules Rimet Trophy from the President of France, Albert Lebrun, following Italy's win against Hungary in the 1938 World Cup final, Paris
Italy team captain Giuseppe Meazza receives the Jules Rimet Trophy from the President of France, Albert Lebrun, following Italy's win against Hungary in the 1938 World Cup final, Paris
On 20 March 1966, four months before the 1966 FIFA World Cup™ in England, the Jules Rimet Cup was stolen while on public display at Westminster Central Hall, despite 24-hour security – an event which caused great uproar. London's entire police force was mobilised in search of the thief, who had demanded a ransom of 15,000 pounds.

The English hurried to have a replica of the trophy manufactured, in case the original was not recovered in time for the tournament. A dog named Pickles saved the day for England. Pickles found the cup, wrapped in newspaper, at the bottom of some garden hedge in Upper Norwood, South London, while being walked by his owner David Corbett. A football fan, Corbett knew right away what was in that newspaper, and turned it over to authorities. Rumour has it that Corbett was invited to attend a gala dinner in honour of the England team winning the FIFA World Cup™, and was paid a reward of 6,000 pounds, while his dog, the star of the story, got a lifetime supply of dog food. The replica the English had made for security reasons was subsequently sold at an auction to FIFA for £254,500 in 1997.
Jules Rimet Trophy unveiled for the press at Westminster Central Hall in London. The trophy disappeared on 20 March, and was recovered in South London a few days later, on 27 March 1966, by a dog named Pickles
Jules Rimet Trophy unveiled for the press at Westminster Central Hall in London. The trophy disappeared on 20 March, and was recovered in South London a few days later, on 27 March 1966, by a dog named Pickles
The original Cup was moved to Brazil in 1970, but that was not the end of its vicissitudes. The news that Golden Greek Goddess is "no more" left the world dumbstruck in December 1983. Some evil-minded people had purloined the cup from its display cabinet at the Brazilian Football Confederation headquarters in Rio, having pried open the wooden rear of the cabinet with a regular crowbar. Four men were tried and convicted in absentia for the theft, but the cup was never recovered. The Brazilians had to have another replica of the Jules Rimet Cup manufactured. No one knows what happened to the original. It is generally believed that it was either melted down and sold, or ended up in a private collection.
The FIFA World Cup™
History of the new trophy
The FIFA World Cup™
History of the new trophy
After the handing-over of the Jules Rimet Cup to Brazil, FIFA had to commission a replacement trophy for the 1974 FIFA World Cup™. Fifty three submissions were received for the design tender, announced in 1971, from sculptors in seven countries. Silvio Gazzaniga, who would end up winning the commission, made two submissions. The earliest one was accepted.
Background
Silvio Gazzaniga
Silvio Gazzaniga was born in 1921 in Milan. He apprenticed as a sculptor in the art schools of Milan from the age of 16 on. He attended the Umanitaria School of Applied Art and the High School of Art at the Sforzesco Castle, specialising as a goldsmith and jeweller. After World War II, he started his career as a sculptor of medals, cups and decorations and at the end of 1953 began to collaborate with Milan's Bertoni studio as artistic director and master sculptor.

Gazzaniga's design was selected by FIFA for its new FIFA World Cup™ trophy in 1970. Riding the wave of the great international success of his FIFA World Cup trophy, the artist continued to create other important football trophies, such as the UEFA Cup trophy (1972, European League trophy since 2009) and the UEFA Super Cup trophy (1973). He also produced the Baseball World Cup trophy (2001), Bobsleigh and Volleyball world cup trophies plus medals for important sporting events in basketball, swimming, skiing and many other sports.

In 2003, the former Mayor of Milan, Gabriele Albertini, on behalf of Milan City Council, bestowed a "Certificate of Merit of the Ambrogino d'Oro" on Gazzaniga in recognition of "his professional reputation as one of the most prolific contemporary artists of the city."


In 2011, while attending a meeting for the annual edition of the International Numismatic Fair in Vicenza, the International Association of Numismatists and Medal Designers bestowed upon him the International Award for his contribution to his Profession. A year later, Gazzaniga was awarded an Order of Merit of the Italian Republic 4th Grade by decree of the President of Italy.
Sculptor Silvio Gazzaniga working on his World Cup Trophy, 1971
Sculptor Silvio Gazzaniga working on his World Cup Trophy, 1971
"To create a universal symbol, I was inspired by two fundamental images: those of a triumphant athlete and of the world," the artist said, explaining his FIFA World Cup Trophy concept. "I wanted to reflect the elation of the winning footballer – a man transformed by the enormity of his victory – but without the super human ego. This sporting hero who embraces the world in his arms, reflects the strength needed to make sacrifices day after day with his fellow team members and the universal characteristics of sport such as commitment and freedom."

They say the artist stayed closeted away in his studio for a week, working on the trophy. Gazzaniga himself would later admit the bulk of the work didn't take very long to do. However, the trophy being made of solid gold, the finer details conceived by the artist proved a challenge, and had to be added after the debut presentation of the Trophy.
Infographic: FIFA World Cup Winners' Trophy
Five kilos' worth of trophy gold
Five kilos' worth of trophy gold
Unlike its predecessor, the new trophy was made of 5kg of 18 carat gold. The trophy stands 36.8cm tall and weighs 6.142kg. The base is 13cm in diameter with two layers of malachite, matching the colour of a football field. The cup depicts two human figures holding up the Earth, crowning the trophy.

"The two players raising their arms symbolize the team at the moment of joy and the excitement of victory," Gazzaniga explained. "The sphere at the top is shaped with a relief reflecting the images of continents. This also symbolises football and the world and the lines showing between the two mirrored players expresses the energy of sport. The lines spring out from the base, rising in spirals, stretching out to receive the world."
Uruguayan and Italian footballer, attacker for Uruguay and Italy national teams, 1950 World Champion Alcides Ghiggia presents the World Cup trophy during the Trophy Tour preceding World Cup 2014. Montevideo, Uruguay, 16 January 2013
Uruguayan and Italian footballer, attacker for Uruguay and Italy national teams, 1950 World Champion Alcides Ghiggia presents the World Cup trophy during the Trophy Tour preceding World Cup 2014. Montevideo, Uruguay, 16 January 2013
The FIFA World Cup Trophy base is made of two green malachite rings, separated by a gold ring carrying the event title 'FIFA World Cup'. It is fitted with a gold base plate, showing the engraved names of the winning countries in local language; for example "1974 Deutschland" or "1994 Brazil". The names are arranged in circular shape, leaving space for future winners.
Infographic: Trophy winners
Adventures of the Trophy
Adventures of the Trophy
On July 11, 2010, moments before the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final between Spain and the Netherlands in South Africa, the notorious Spanish trouble-maker Jimmy Jump rushed into the field in what looked like an attempt to grab the trophy, before being subdued by several security guards in the immediate vicinity of the FIFA World Cup Trophy. While the media branded the Spaniard a "demented thief," Jump himself claimed he had only wanted to place a barretina, Catalan headdress, on the trophy for good luck. He walked away with a small fine.

Gazzaniga was once asked if there was anything he would change about his trophy if he had a chance. "If I had to make it from scratch again, I would not change a thing," he said. "I've had to restore it many times, I know every millimetre of its terrain. My trophy keeps bringing joy to people, which means my aesthetic principles have universal relevance."
Germany team captain Bastian Schweinsteiger with World Cup trophy at the tribute gala for the German footballers following their World Cup 2014 final win against Argentina in Brazil. Berlin, 15 July 2014
Germany team captain Bastian Schweinsteiger with World Cup trophy at the tribute gala for the German footballers following their World Cup 2014 final win against Argentina in Brazil. Berlin, 15 July 2014
Where the FIFA World Cup Trophy is stored
Where the FIFA World Cup Trophy is stored
Before 2006, the trophy would be handed over to the winning country, which would keep it until the final draw of the next FIFA World Cup™. Not anymore. By the current FIFA regulations, the winner of the tournament receives a gold-plated bronze replica of the trophy – the FIFA World Cup Winners' Trophy.

The Original Trophy is since 2016 displayed at the FIFA World Football Museum in Zurich. It is otherwise only displayed during the FIFA World Cup™ Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola, at the Final Draw of the FIFA World Cup™ and on the pitch and stands during the Final Match of the tournament..

2006 was also the year when the Original Trophy was taken on its first worldwide Trophy Tour, organised by FIFA along its partner Coca-Cola.
Aleksei Sorokin, CEO of Russia-2018 NOC, at a press conference on account of the arrival of the FIFA World Cup trophy in Moscow. Moscow, 2014
Aleksei Sorokin, CEO of Russia-2018 NOC, at a press conference on account of the arrival of the FIFA World Cup trophy in Moscow. Moscow, 2014
FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour in figures:

The first tour, which preceded the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™, was about three months long. The trophy visited 29 countries. On its tour before the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa, the Original Trophy had visited 84 countries, 50 of them in Africa, covering a distance close to 139,000km.

The Original Trophy was welcomed by 90 nations prior to the FIFA World Cup Brazil™. The tour began in Rio de Janeiro on 12 September 2013, and ended there 267 days later. The Trophy had travelled about 150,000km, and had been seen by 1.3 million fans.

Only Heads of State and FIFA World Cup™ champions are permitted to touch the Trophy.
Infographic: FIFA World Cup Trophy itinerary
Photocredits:
Photocredits:
Stuart Franklin / Getty Images, Mark Leech / Getty Images, Keystone / Getty Images, Keystone / Hulton Archive / Getty Images, SSPL / Getty Images, Dante Fernandez / LatinContent / Getty Images, Alex Grimm / Bongarts / Getty Images, Sergey Fadeichev / TASS