KUALA LUMPUR: The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Syed Putra Jamalullail is the first king in the world to get a feel of the FIFA World Cup (Bernamapic), which is on a Tour to 31 cities in 29 countries.
The Tour began in Ghana on Jan 2. The trophy arrived in Malaysia on Tuesday from Jakarta and it was unveiled by the Agong at a ceremony in Istana Negara yesterday.
FIFA representative Emmanuel Maradas said at the launch ceremony at the Berjaya Times Square that on the Tour thus far, only the Presidents of Ghana and Tanzania and the Vice-President of Indonesia had touched the trophy.
“His Majesty, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin, is the first king to touch and have a good feel of the trophy,” said Maradas, who heads a 12-member delegation from FIFA to here.
Maradas added that the Tour was part of a joint effort by FIFA and Coca-Cola to enable the public to have a close-up view of the one-and-only World Cup trophy ahead of the 2006 Finals in Germany from June 9-July 9.
“This is the first time in the history of the World Cup that a real trophy has gone on a Tour and displayed for public viewing,” he said of the idea mooted by the FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, to bring football to the people.
The Tour has gone to South Africa, the United States, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Indonesia before arriving in Malaysia.
It will proceed to Thailand, China, Australia, England, Switzerland, Russia, Ukraine, Portugal, Greece and Italy before going on a national tour of Germany.
The solid 18-carat gold, 36cm high trophy weighing almost 5kg will be displayed at the Berjaya Times Square today.