FIFA World Cup trophy to visit Kolkata in December

New Delhi, Sep 13 (IANS) India's football fans can catch a glimpse of the 2014 FIFA World Cup trophy that will be coming for the second time to the country in football-mad Kolkata from Dec 22-24.

It is part of its world tour to 88 countries over nine months.

FIFA's main sponsors, Coca-Cola, in partnership with All India Football Association (AIFF) will be bringing the coveted trophy to India again, the first time being in early 2010. Fans can catch a glimpse of the solid-gold trophy in person.

The arrival of the trophy also coincides with the celebration of 20 years of Coca-Cola's presence in India.

"We are thrilled to once again bring the FIFA World Cup trophy to India and what better venue than the city of football lovers - Kolkata. We are sure that the trophy tour will provide a great impetus to the nation's passion for football. We are planning a host of activities across the spectrum to amplify this experience for our consumers and hope the entire nation will join us in this unique celebration of the sport," Coca-Cola India vice-president - Marketing - Anupama Ahluwalia said.

AIFF secretary general Kushal Das said: "We're elated to join hands with Coca-Cola again to stage the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour 2013. This year the tour is bigger and better and will help bring football fans across India closer to the greatest prize in football. The trophy tour is the ultimate ode to the glory of football and we are proud to be associated with this initiative."

In 2010, when Coca-Cola and FIFA took the trophy to 94 cities in 84 countries, it provided more than 500,000 fans across five continents an opportunity to be a part of the trophy tour celebrations.

FIFA World Cup winners including Pele, Lothar Matthaus and Christian Karembeu shared their World Cup experience during the tour. Forty-four heads of state made time in their schedules to greet the trophy's arrival.

The iconic trophy measures 36.8 centimetres high, weighs 6,175 grams and is made of solid 18-carat gold. The World Cup winners retain it until the next tournament and are awarded a replica that is gold-plated, rather than solid gold. The base contains two layers of semi-precious malachite while the bottom side bears the engraved year and name of each FIFA World Cup winner since 1974.

Coca-Cola has had a formal association with Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) since 1974 and an official sponsorship of the World Cup that began in 1978.