In recent times the buildup to different major sporting events has become a major global event. Events such as these not only serve as traditions, but also help raise the profile of the sporting occasion. For example, for The Olympics, the Olympic Torch is ignited several months before the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games at the site of the ancient Olympics in Olympia. Then after a few small functions coupled with a final ceremony in the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, the torch starts its transfer to the host city by going through various selected countries and cities. And ultimately, The Olympic Torch Relay ends on the day of the opening ceremony in the central stadium of the Games.

Since 2006 another such major event – the World Cup Trophy Tour, is organised by FIFA, the governing body for football, in collaboration with Coca Cola. The FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola is a rare opportunity for fans to see the original trophy up close and have their experience captured with a photograph. It’s an exciting and exclusive experience since the Trophy is otherwise only displayed at the FIFA World Football Museum in Zurich, during the FIFA World Cup Final Draw and at the final match of every FIFA World Cup.

In September 2017, the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola kicked off in Moscow, Russia. The tour stayed in Russia until December before going global to cover over 50 countries across six continents.

Fortunately for football lovers in Pakistan, Pakistan was included in the 2018 tour. The FIFA World Cup Trophy arrived in Lahore in the morning of 3rd February, where football’s most coveted prize was unveiled. The Trophy was then taken to a hotel in the afternoon where it was showcased during an event attended by a delegation of key stakeholders, government officials, media, the national men’s and women’s football teams, sports bloggers and influencers. The CokeFest, held at Lake City Lahore later in the day, was attended by thousands of football enthusiasts, who were given the unique opportunity of getting up close and personal with the legendary Trophy. It was a memorable experience for all involved and football fans will be hoping that this will lead to the start of serious development of the sport in the country.

After the Pakistan stopover, on 4th February – The FIFA World Cup Trophy, proceeded to Almaty, Kazakhstan. The trophy will now be showcased in 55 other nations before it returns to the host country in May just ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.

The full schedule for the 2018 tour is as follows:

Colombo, Sri Lanka 23-24 January
Male, Maldives 24-25 January
Phuket, Thailand 26-27 January
Vientiane, Laos 28 January
Macau, China P.R 29 January
Nukualofa, Tonga 31 January
Honiara, Solomon Islands 1 February
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea 1 February
Lahore, Pakistan 3 February
Almaty, Kazakhstan 4 February
Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic 5 February
Dushanbe, Tajikistan 5 February
Tashkent, Uzbekistan 6 February
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan 7 February
Yerevan, Armenia 7 February
Tblisi, Georgia 8 February
Baku, Azerbaijan 9 February
Valetta, Malta 10 February
Vienna, Austria 11 February
Minsk, Belarus 13 February
Sofia, Bulgaria 14 February
Tel Aviv, Israel 15 February
Larnaca, Cyprus 16 February
Ramallah, Palestine 17-19 February
Amman, Jordan 20 February
Dubai, United Arab Emirates 21 February
Khartoum, Sudan 22-23 February
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 24-25 February
Nairobi, Kenya 26-27 February
Maputo, Mozambique 28 February
Johannesburg, South africa 1-2 March
Cape Town, South Africa 3 March
Kampala, Uganda 5-6 March
Abuja, Nigeria 7-8 March
Lagos, Nigeria 9-10 March
Dakar, Senegal 11-12 March
Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire 13-14 March
Cairo, Egypt 15-16 March
Naples, Italy 17-19 March
Paris, France 20-21 March
Cologne, Germany 22-23 March
Oslo, Norway 24 March
Torshavn, Faroe Islands 24-25 March
Reykjavik, Iceland 25 March
Tucuman, Argentina 27-28 March
Berazategui, Argentina 29 March
Buenos Aires, Argentina 30-31 March
Rosario, Argentina 1-2 April
Bogota, Colombia 3-5 April
Panama City, Panama 6 April
San Jose, Costa Rica 7-8 April
Guadalajara, Mexico 9-10 April
Monterrey, Mexico 11-12 April
Mexico City, Mexico 13-15 April
New York, USA 16 April
Miami, USA 17 April
Los Angeles, USA 18-20 April
Frankfurt, Germany 22 April
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 23 April
Beijing, China P.R 25 April
Shanghai, China P.R 26 April
Tokyo, Japan 27-28 April
Osaka, Japan 29-30 April
Vladivostok, Russia 1 May



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