Colombo, Jan 24 (newsin.asia) – The FIFA World Cup trophy arrived in Sri Lanka on Wednesday, beginning its international tour, and was handed over to President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo.
Sirisena, while accepting the trophy thanked the FIFA Federation for selecting Sri Lanka as its first destination for its global tour and said the trophy was a symbol of excellence.
“It gives me immense pleasure to welcome the FIFA World Cup Trophy to our beautiful island. The spirit of sports is vital to make the world a better place,” Sirisena said.
“I congratulate all teams competing for FIFA this year. I wish all the fans around the world an enjoyable tournament,” the President added.
After the cup was handed over to the President, it was then taken to the BMICH in Colombo where Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe declared open the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour for viewing by football fans across the country.
Wickremesinghe also thanked the FIFA Federation and its sponsors for selecting Sri Lanka as its first destination.
Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara said that this was a historic moment for the island country as football was fast gaining popularity in Sri Lanka.
The trophy will visit 51 countries prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup tournament in June which will be hosted by Russia.
According to the International Football Federation, the trophy will be taken only to Pakistan and Maldives in South
Asia including Sri Lanka.
In a tour spanning more than 126,000 kilometers, FIFA and Coca Cola will take the trophy on its longest journey to date.