THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

FIFA World Cup Trophy illumes Kolkata

FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour

FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour

Coca-Cola India once again opened happiness in Kolkata as the “City of Joy” welcomed the most prized trophy in world football, the original FIFA World Cup Trophy. Marking the culmination of a month long celebration of the city’s love for football, the Trophy was unveiled today at a glittering ceremony at ITC Sonar Bangla.

Carlos Alberto Torres, legendary Brazilian footballer, winner of the 1970 football World cup and the official ambassador of FIFA World Cup™ 2014, brought in the Trophy amidst an eager audience of 300 people. He was joined in the unveiling ceremony by Venkatesh Kini (Deputy President, Coca-Cola India & SWA). Lending support to the event were Kushal Das (General Secretary, All India Football Federation), Bharat Ratna Sachin Tendulkar (Coca-Cola India’s Happiness Ambassador), Prasun Banerjee (Arjuna Awardee and football great), Subrata Dutta (Sr. VP, All India Football Federation) and Utpal Kumar Ganguly (Hon. General Secretary, Indian Football Association).

Speaking at the unveiling ceremony, Venkatesh Kini (Deputy President, Coca-Cola India & SWA) said, “Coca-Cola, the world’s most loved beverage brings about moments that come but once in a lifetime. We are elated that in partnership with FIFA, Coca-Cola has been able to put Kolkata on the route map of this prestigious Trophy tour, which will cover only 90 countries. This Trophy is amongst the world’s ultimate symbols of happiness, optimism, inclusiveness, diversity, collaboration and commitment.

Coca-Cola stands for these values and we wanted to leverage this Trophy tour, as a force for good. It is my belief that this Trophy tour will fuel a movement of healthy, active living, not just in Kolkata but across the country.”

He further added, “There could not have been a better time to bring the FIFA World Cup Trophy to come to India. The excitement is palpable, now that India will be hosting the FIFA U-17 Football World Cup in 2017. The Trophy Tour will further catalyze our efforts to promote grassroots football in India where we are currently partnering AIFF in hosting the Coca-Cola Under-15 football cup. I visualize some great years ahead for football in India.”

Talking about the potential of football in India, Kushal Das (General Secretary, All India Football Federation) said, “We as a society need to build a culture of sports that is mainstream and accessible to people across the spectrum. This encouragement needs to come in from all quarters and I would like to congratulate Coca-Cola India, our long standing partners, for having belief in the great football talent of our country and playing an important role in giving grassroots football a great boost through initiatives like The Coca-Cola Cup. The FIFA World Cup Trophy coming to India is a matter of great pride will definitely provide encouragement to more and younger talent to contribute towards the sport of football.”

Sharing his excitement about being in India, Carlos Alberto Torres, legendary Brazilian Footballer and the Official Ambassador for FIFA World Cup™ 2014 said, “The FIFA World Cup™ is the most prestigious symbol of the glory of football. Having held this coveted trophy in my hand as a World Cup winning captain in 1970, I can tell you that the feeling is unparalleled. I would like to commend Coca-Cola for bringing this glorious experience to the masses and help elevate the enthusiasm of football across India. This is my second visit to Kolkata and I am extremely humbled by the generous hospitality extended by the people of the city and the team at Coca-Cola. I will use this opportunity to share my personal experience with young footballers and to motivate them to play football.”

Encouraging young footballers, Prasun Banerjee said, “I hope this prize encourages more young people to take up the sport of football and make the city and the country proud.”

Sporting Icon Sachin Tendulkar said, “I thank Coca-Cola for giving thousands of football fans the opportunity to view this coveted trophy and be a part of the excitement around the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour. Brazilian football and its footballers have always held a special place in our hearts and the presence of the legendary; Carlos Alberto Torres makes this a memorable occasion. I trust budding footballers in India will be inspired to pursue the sport more passionately and in a matter of few years, we will see the Indian team competing with the very best in the FIFA World Cup.”

This is the Trophy’s second visit to the city. As part of the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour (FWCTT) by Coca-Cola, 51 countries which have never had the chance of hosting the trophy earlier will be doing so this year. The FWCTT is the result of Coca-Cola & FIFA’s long association which led to the birth of this unique campaign in 2006. Touted as the world’s biggest experiential marketing campaign, the FWCTT aims at giving football lovers across the globe a chance to see the Trophy up close.

The global FIFA World Cup™ Trophy Tourby Coca-Cola kicked off with an official launch ceremony in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 12 September 2013. The FIFA World Cup™ Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola is the most inclusive, participatory event ever, inviting fans around the world to get up close and personal with the same trophy that is presented by FIFA to the country winning the FIFA World Cup™. 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. This year, the tour will also be visiting 51 new countries that have never had the opportunity to host the trophy before.