The FIFA World Cup™ Trophy was officially handed over to H.E. Maithripala Sirisena – President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka at his residence. After the President had unveiled the iconic trophy, it was taken to the BMICH, where the Hon. Prime Minister of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe, declared open the FIFA World Cup™ Trophy Tour for viewing by enthusiastic football fans in Colombo.
Sri Lanka is the first stop in the international leg of the FIFA World Cup™ Trophy Tour. The FIFA World Cup™ Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola began its historic journey from Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium (Russia) on 9th September 2017. The Russian leg of the Trophy Tour was officially launched when FIFA President Gianni Infantino presented President of Russia Mr. Vladimir Putin with the Trophy in the Host Nation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup™. The global leg of this tour will feature Sri Lanka as the first international destination in its 51 country tour prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ in June 2018. In a tour spanning more than 126,000 kilometres, FIFA and Coca-Cola will take the iconic FIFA World Cup Trophy on its longest journey to-date.
Receiving the trophy, on behalf of the nation and kicking off the celebrations, H.E. Maithripala Sirisena – President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka said “It gives me immense pleasure to welcome the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour to our beautiful island. The spirit of sports is vital to make the world a better place. It brings people, regions, and nations together. The FIFA World Cup Trophy is a symbol of excellence, achieved through determination, discipline and dedication. I congratulate all teams competing for FIFA this year. I wish all the fans around the world an enjoyable tournament.”
For a few but very memorable hours, Sri Lankan fans fulfilled their dream of witnessing the trophy in all its glory and participated in the exciting proceedings of the day at BMICH. Coca-Cola Sri Lanka and FIFA, supported by the Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) and the Ministry of Sports, brought the iconic FIFA World Cup Trophy to Sri Lanka as the first international destination of the Trophy Tour ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ in Russia.
The special day’s proceedings commenced with an eagerly-anticipated public event at the BMICH for the benefit of youth footballers, fans from different walks of life, women and men’s football teams, international youth invitees amongst other important stakeholders and members of the media. The occasion enabled them to capture the coveted trophy on camera for posterity.
A colourful and vibrant welcome performance was staged by the Ministry of Tourism. Thereafter, the Coca-Cola President delivered an energizing talk on ‘the sporting spirit of FIFA and how Coca-Cola believes in spreading it.’
Krishnakumar – President, Coca-Cola India & South West Asia said,
“The Coca-Cola Company’s association with football goes back a long way. We are inspired by football’s ability to teach triumph over adversity whilst also helping fans share moments of sheer joy and happiness. We are delighted to see so many football fans gathered today to witness the FIFA World Cup Trophy and we hope they will treasure these moments forever.”
His warm speech was followed by a message from the FIFA representative who spoke on the sport of football and its role in unifying fans across the world, while infusing discipline and focus to help youth excel in all aspects of life.
Further, the Minister of Sports, Dayasiri Jayasekara, spoke about ‘Sri Lankan sports’, elaborating on how sports has a rich tradition in Sri Lanka and how football is gaining in popularity. In his speech he said, “We are privileged to be selected as the first country in the FIFA Trophy’s international tour. I would like to thank all the parties responsible in making this dream a possibility for football fans in Sri Lanka.”
Leveraging the historic occasion, the Sri Lanka Football Association unveiled the country’s national football vision to further promote the game across the island. Anura de Silva – President, Football Federation of Sri Lanka said, “We are privileged to have brought the FIFA Trophy to Sri Lanka to delight football fans across the country. We hope this opportunity will further ignite the passion for the sport and that we can enhance our influence in this sport just as we have done in other sporting spheres.”
This launch segment of the event concluded with the Hon Prime Minister, the National Team Captain, all dignitaries and one special invited young Football Fan clicking a photograph together to mark the unforgettable event. This was followed by Cabinet Ministers present posing for a group picture.
The FIFA World Cup™ Trophy Tour was an outstanding success as all 1200-plus invitees and additional invited people representing the youth of Sri Lanka got memorable photos with the FIFA World Cup™ Trophy.
After a successful stop at its first international destination in Sri Lanka, Sri Lankan fans bid goodbye to the FIFA World Cup™ Trophy as it proceeds to more than 50 countries across all six continents before returning to Russia. During the tour, more than one million people around the world will get a chance to experience football’s most coveted prize.
For the latest updates from the FIFA World Cup™ Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola including upcoming tour destinations and dates, exclusive interviews, photos and videos, visit the official website www.fifa.com/trophytour, the official Facebook page www.facebook.com/trophytour and the official Instagram page at www.instagram.com/trophytour/.
The Coca-Cola Company has had a long-standing relationship with FIFA since 1976 and has been an official sponsor of the FIFA World Cup™ since 1978. Coca-Cola has had stadium advertising at every FIFA World Cup™ since 1950 and is a long-time supporter of football at all levels. This is the fourth time that Coca-Cola and FIFA have come together to bring the Trophy Tour to the world.