Sunday, December 6, 2009

Replacement World Cup Trophy

A replacement trophy was commissioned by FIFA for the 1974 World Cup. Fifty-three submissions were received from sculptors in seven countries. Italian artist Silvio Gazzaniga was awarded the commission. The trophy stands 36.5 centimetres (14.4 inches) tall and is made of 5 kg (11 lb) of 18 carat (75%) solid gold with a base (13 centimetres [5.1 inches] in diameter) containing two layers of malachite. Produced by Bertoni, Milano, it weighs 6.175 kg (13.6 lb) in total, depicts two human figures holding up the Earth. Gazzaniga described the trophy thus, "The lines spring out from the base, rising in spirals, stretching out to receive the world. From the remarkable dynamic tensions of the compact body of the sculpture rise the figures of two athletes at the stirring moment of victory." It was first presented at the 1974 FIFA World Cup, to West German captain Franz Beckenbauer.

The trophy has the visible engravement "FIFA World Cup" in outpouring letters at its base. The name of the country whose national team wins each tournament is engraved in the bottom side of the trophy, and therefore is not visible when the trophy is standing upright. The text states the year in figures and the name of winning nation in English, for example "— 2002 Brazil". As of 2006 nine winners have been engraved on the base. It is not known whether FIFA will retire the trophy after all of the name plaques at the base are filled in; this will not occur until after the 2038 World Cup at the earliest. FIFA's regulations now state that the trophy, unlike its predecessor, cannot be won outright: the winners of the tournament receive a replica which is gold plated rather than solid gold.

Shortly before the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, the trophy was briefly returned to Italy for restoration before eventually being awarded to the same country. On 14 July 2006 it was reported that The World Cup Trophy appeared to have been broken after being in Italy's hands for only a few days. Fabio Cannavaro, Italy's captain, was photographed holding a piece of green malachite that had broken off the base, which was subsequently glued back into place.

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