By Raza Mehdi
Dec 16, 2022
The current world cup trophy is actually the second edition. The Jules Rimet Trophy was the original trophy of the first FIFA World Cup in 1930. It was a sculpture of Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, and showed her holding an octagonal cup over her head.
This is not the original one
The first trophy was made of gold-plated sterling silver on a white/yellow marble base and designed by French sculptor Abel Lafleur. In 1954, the marble base was replaced with a base made of lapis lazuli. It stood 14 inches high and weighed 3.8 kg.
Design of the first trophy
The tradition of raising the trophy began in the 1958 FIFA World Cup in Sweden. When Brazilian captain Hilderaldo Bellini heard photographers' requests for a better view of the trophy, he lifted it up in the air. Every World Cup-winning captain ever since has repeated the gesture.
History behind lifting the FIFA trophy
During World War II, the World Cup trophy had to be hidden away. And the safest place likely was a shoe box under the bed of the then FIFA's Italian Vice President, Ottorino Barassi, who removed it from a bank vault in Rome.
Hiding the trophy in a shoe box
After Brazil won the FIFA World Cup for the third time in 1970, it was handed over to them in perpetuity, leading to the creation of a new trophy for the 1974 World Cup. This is the trophy that we see today.
Brazil got the trophy home
The Jules Rimet Trophy was stolen twice! First in England in 1966 during a public exhibition and was found a week later by a dog. The second time it was stolen from the Brazilian Football Confederation, 13 years after Brazil was handed the trophy, and never recovered.
When the World Cup trophy was stolen
Before 2006, the winners would get to keep the trophy until the upcoming world cup. Now, the winners are presented with the FIFA World Cup Winner's Trophy, a gold-plated bronze replica of the current trophy. The winning team keeps this replica while the real trophy is kept safely in the FIFA World Football Museum in Zurich, Switzerland.
Do World Cup winners keep the trophy?
FIFA had commissioned a new trophy for the 10th World Cup in 1974. The design of Italian artist Silvio Gazzaniga was chosen by FIFA experts from 52 other designs proposed by seven countries.
Design of the new trophy
The design of the trophy displays lines stemming out from the base, stretching out to receive the world. The figures of two athletes rise from the compact body of the trophy, celebrating the glorious moment of victory.
Every time a World Cup is held, the winning team’s name and the winning year are inscribed on the base of the trophy. These inscriptions are written in the winning nation’s native tongue.
Inscribed in gold
The current trophy has remaining space for only five more winners at its base, as past winners' names are already inscribed on it. This means the trophy’s base must be full of names by the year 2038, and FIFA should be looking to replace it in the 2042 FIFA World Cup.
Time for replacement soon
The original World Cup trophy weighs 6.175 kg and is made of 18 Karat gold (75 percent gold). It has bands of malachite around its base and is hollow from the inside. And although the trophy is technically not made of solid gold, it is one of the most expensive trophies in sporting history, valued at $250,000.
Is the FIFA World Cup trophy made of gold?