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World Cup trophy headed to Mexicali

January 30, 2002|By MARIO RENTERÍA

Staff Writer

MEXICALI — "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," said Silvio Gazzaniga, an Italian sculptor who sculpted the present FIFA World Cup trophy.

As part of a promotional tour, the FIFA World Cup trophy, a trophy every soccer player and fan in the world dreams of winning, will be making a one-day visit to Mexicali.

A press release from Anheuser Busch Cos. in St. Louis, states the FIFA World Cup trophy will be heavily guarded while on display from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Sam's Club and from 5:15 p.m. to 10 p.m. in Wal-Mart on Friday in Mexicali.

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The Fédération Internationale de Football Association will be staging the 17th World Cup competition in Korea and Japan in June.

The competition, held every four years since 1930, started with 13 teams battling for the "Jules Rimet Cup" named after then FIFA President Jules Rimet. The sculptor of that trophy was Frenchman Abel Lafleur. The statuette weighed about 3.8 kilograms and was about 35 centimeters of solid gold.

Before the first World Cup in 1930, hosted by Uruguay, FIFA officials said the first nation to win the cup three times would keep it forever.

In the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, Brazil won the tournament for the third time and was awarded the cup permanently. That cup was stolen for the second time in 1983 and has not been recovered.

In 1974 Gazzaniga presented the new World Cup Trophy, which weighs about 5 kilograms, is 36 centimeters tall and is made of solid gold and malachite.

World Cup winners are awarded the solid gold trophy until the next World Cup. Then the defending champion returns the solid gold trophy to FIFA and will be given a gold-plated replica to keep.

The press release states Budweiser has toured the trophy through Argentina, China, Taiwan, Malaysia and the United Kingdom.

"As an official sponsor for the World Cup 2002, Budweiser wants to give soccer enthusiasts the opportunity to see one of the most prestigious trophies in the world," said Aurelio Ruelas, director of marketing for Budweiser in Mexico.

"For us, bringing the trophy to Mexico is a form of thanking the support we have received from consumers and distributors," he said.

>> Staff Writer Mario Rentería can be reached at 337-3441.

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