The extraordinary global journey of the FIFA World Cup™ Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola is nearing its conclusion. The airplane which has been carrying the prized possession around the planet took its penultimate flight on the morning of 27 April from China PR to Tokyo, with Japan the final country to be visited during the global phase.
Ready to greet the plane were VIP guests such as FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura, FIFA Legend and 2002 World Cup winner Gilberto Silva, FIFA Ambassador for the Trophy Tour Victoria Lopyreva and Japan Football Association President Kozo Tashima.
Other special guests included Jorge Garduno, President of Coca-Cola Japan, and Mikhail Yurievich Galuzin, Russia’s ambassador to Japan. After the arrival ceremony, the group went to meet Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at his official residence.
Speaking at the event, Samoura said: “For FIFA, the Trophy means even more than being the maximum prize a footballer can dream of. It is the embodiment of everything that we stand for. It is the passion of millions of fans around the world – regardless of age, gender, origin or social condition – represented in one single image.”
“I am happy Japan was chosen as the final overseas destination before returning to Russia,” said Prime Minister Abe. “I hope Russia 2018 will be a success. Ever since we co-hosted the World Cup with Korea [Republic], football has become more popular throughout Japan. I hope one day that Japan can hold this trophy. I’m sure the JFA will do their best to support the team.”
Gilberto Silva also reminisced about Brazil’s World Cup victory in Japan back in 2002, spoke of his fond memories of the country and, of course, the Trophy.
The Trophy Tour will visit three cities in Japan, offering citizens a number of chances to see the original Trophy up close.
Shizuoka was the lucky winner of a nationwide competition to bring the Trophy to their city. There is sure to be a party atmosphere to welcome the Trophy and celebrate the final day of the global tour.
On 1 May, the Trophy Tour plane will make its final flight to Vladivostok, Russia, where the glorious prize will tour for a further six weeks and visit nine more cities in the host country, before returning to Moscow for the opening of the tournament.