I had seen the posts on Facebook and Twitter: The FIFA World Cup trophy is currently on a world tour. A huge world tour – they are covering 80 countries. A tour to help build excitement for 2014’s World Cup tournament that will take place in Brazil.
And honestly? My initial reaction was not one of great excitement. I had actually never given the World Cup prize a moments thought. For all I knew, they could have given out medals…or ribbons…or flowers to the last winners, **please pause so I can google who they were** SPAIN!
Oh look…they get medals too!
I didn’t receive a press invitation or a free ticket so I decided to leave this one completely up to chance. A small amount of tickets had been given to the phone companies Digicell and Smart. Send them a text and you might win a free entry. I pretty much thought I had no chance.
I sent one text and WON. Fate. Kismet. I was MEANT to see the World Cup in Belize.
I was on the mainland anyway…I just need to linger for one more day and I can make it. And I started to do a little bit of research…a really tiny bit…and I saw this map. Very cool. (I made a suggestion to a Coke representative about letting a fan tag along next time…how great would that be?)
Check out ALL the information of the Fifa Trophy tour link. It’s pretty interesting.
Picture borrowed from the Bowen & Bowen facebook page.
I stopped into the Belikin distributor on Kings Street in Belize City to pick up my winning ticket.
And my taxi took me straight over to the Radisson Hotel. There were quite a few banners downtown. Here is one right in front of Wellworths.
Up to the Radisson…
The area was roped off and there were plenty of unarmed and armed security guards. Interesting…apparently this trophy is not made of plastic.
And a chance to chat with the head of security for the world tour…he had quite a few fun facts about the trophy. First, it’s over 10lbs of 18 karat gold and worth about $10 million dollars. (With gold at about $1300 an ounce right now, I’m not sure why so much but I’ll take his word for it. I’m certainly no gold expert.)
When the cup is awarded, it is taken away from the winning team almost immediately or, I forget, maybe they don’t touch it at all. The team is then given a gold plated replica with only the year and the championship on it. So…2010’s said something like “2010 South Africa”.
The team name/country is ONLY engraved on the bottom of the REAL deal solid gold cup.
Also, the real cup and the awarded replicas can never be on public display at the same time. This must be a terrible scheduling hassle.
Here is my bad attempt to photograph that. It starts in 1974.
Like this young couple from Georgia, USA.
They have lived in Belize for 2 months now in a little village called Valley Community. A village so small that I can’t find it on a map but I think it’s out on the Hummingbird Highway. At least 3 or 4 hours by bus.
He saw a poster at the local store this morning and knew that he HAD to get to Belize City to see the cup. They jumped on the bus only to arrive at the Radisson and find out that they needed a ticket.
The lovely people at Bowen & Bowen heard the story and…what could they do? They let them in.
Here is my buddy Jorge of the San Pedro Sun horning in on my scoop. Jorge!
There were quite a few VIPs in the building. Here is the Speaker of the House of Representatives being interviewed.
Some members of the Belize national team were arriving when I was exiting the building. I’ve actually seem met many of them a few times.
The FIFA website says that Fuleco, the 2014 mascot, is travelling with this tour to some of the destinations…based on the size of this suit? I’d guess only cold weather ones.
Can anyone guess what animal this is?
I don’t really know…were design professionals involved in any of these? The new armadillo is definitely my favorite.
In the end, this was a super cool experience and I’m glad I showed up. The cup is very very impressive and I love that they stopped in to this little country to help spread the World Cup Fever.
Next stop? Israel, Palestine and Jordan.
And I did some googlin’. Belize is not the smallest country (population-wise) that the cup is visiting.
Montserrat 6k BVIs 23k, Aruba 102K, Curacao 151k, Tahiti 178k, Vanuatu 242k (who knew?)
And it’s not really in order. They come back to visit Guatemala and Mexico in February.
How did they pick the countries?
Sigh…if only I’d done some more research…