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History of the World Cup Trophy

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Ahead of the 2018 World Cup final in Russia, we take a brief look at the history of the iconic trophy.

The World Cup is a gold trophy awarded to the winners of the FIFA World Cup association football tournament. Since it started in 1930, two trophies have been used; the Jules Rimet Trophy from 1930 to 1970, and the FIFA World Cup Trophy from 1974 to the present day.

The first trophy was named after the third FIFA President, Jules Rimet. The Frenchman was one of the key men responsible for creating a World Cup tournament, after he passed the vote to start a global football championship in 1929.

It was designed by French sculptor Abel Lafleur and made of gold-plated sterling silver on a white/yellow marble base. It stood 35 centimetres high and weighed 3.8 kilograms.

On 20 March 1966, four months before the 1966 FIFA World Cup in England, the trophy was stolen during a public exhibition. It was found just seven days later wrapped in newspaper in South London, by a dog named Pickles. The owner of the dog received £5,000 as a reward.

On 19 December 1983, the original Jules Rimet Trophy was stolen from the Brazilian Football Confederation in Rio de Janeiro. Four men were tried in absentia but the trophy was never recovered. It is widely believed to have been melted down and sold.

The World Cup Trophy since 1974

The subsequent trophy, called the “FIFA World Cup Trophy”, was introduced in 1974. Fifty-three submissions were received from sculptors in seven countries. Italian sculptor Silvio Gazzaniga was awarded the commission

Gazzaniga designed the trophy in 1971, it was worth US$50,000. Now the trophy is estimated to be worth US$10m. The trophy stands 36.8 centimetres high and weighs 6.1 kilograms with a base of 13 centimetres in diameter. It depicts two human figures holding up the Earth.

The trophy has the engraving “FIFA World Cup” on its base. After the 1994 FIFA World Cup a plate was added to the bottom side of the trophy on which the names of winning countries are engraved, names therefore not visible when the trophy is standing upright.

The original trophy is now permanently kept at the FIFA World Football Museum in Zurich, Switzerland. It only leaves there when it goes on its FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour, and it is also present at Final draw for the next World Cup, and on the pitch at the World Cup opening game and Final.

The Cup used to be kept by the winning team until the final draw of the next tournament, however, that is no longer the case. Instead the winners of the tournament receive a bronze replica which is gold-plated rather than solid gold.

Brazil have it won five times, and they are the only team to have played in every tournament. The other World Cup winners are Germany and Italy, with four titles each; Argentina and inaugural winner Uruguay, with two titles each; and England, France, and Spain, with one title each.

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