The original World Cup Trophy for the first time in Palestine.
The announcement came during a press conference organised at the Company’s headquarters in conjunction with the celebrations marking the 15th anniversary of NBC establishment in Palestine and the inauguration of its new building.
Palestine is the first Arab country to receive the Cup, which will then go to Jordan, Egypt and a number of other Arab North African countries.
In the press conference organised with Zahi Khouri, Chairman of the Board of the Directors of the NBC, Imad al-Hindi, General Manager of the NBC, Argentinean Football Player and Coach Gabriel Calderón, and Peter Franklin, Chairman of the Sports Department at Coca-Cola International, Major General Jabril Al-Rajoub, Chairman of the Palestinian Olympic Committee and President of the Palestinian Football Federation stated that it was an honour for Palestine to be the first Arab country to receive the Cup. He considered the occasion to be a triumph for the Palestinian people and its sports movement that was steadily progressing.
Al-Rajoub congratulated the NBC on the anniversary of its establishment, calling for the Company to continue and develop its relationship with and support to various Palestinian sporting activities and projects to reach the level of true partnership.
Al-Rajoub welcomed the foreign guests along with the FIFA and said, “Through our determination, our people’s will and our athletes’ resolve, we are moving forward with steady steps”. He noted that sports had become an ethical system and a language for creative communication between people overcoming all borders and obstacles, particularly those created by the occupation through its objectionable practices that went so far as to prevent a football match of children at a Jerusalem playing field. Major General Al-Rajoub stressed that the people’s potentials and sporting talents have been both extensive and distinct. He further confirmed that Palestine was looking forward to reach and win the world championship of football, as the most popular watched and followed sports in the world.
Al-Rajoub also talked about the great achievements made by the Palestinian sports movement both at the infrastructural level and the qualification of its coaches and athletes as well as the organisation of championships and local tournaments despite the occupation’s blockades and illegal practices. He confirmed that the entire world sports community supported Palestine, especially after gaining active membership in the FIFA. He pointed out that the World Cup Trophy would be displayed for two days in Jerusalem and its surrounding areas around the Apartheid Wall and settlements in order to show the world the racism and fascism of the Israeli occupation.
On his part, the Argentinean player and coach, Gabriel Calderón, expressed his great pleasure to be in Palestine and for the sporting achievements achieved there. He added that he saw Palestine as a full sporting partner, and wished the Palestinian people more progress and success in sports. Calderón touched upon his childhood and his poor upbringing, stating that he was one of nine children, often eating just one meal a day due to his family’s severe poverty and destitution. Calderón stated that sports taught him to have ambition, to dream and work hard in order to achieve his goals as well as to love cooperation and dialogue. He congratulated the Coca-Cola Company on the anniversary of its establishment. He went on to state that it was the right of the Palestinian youth to have dreams and development at all levels, particularly sports. He recalled Argentina’s loss in the opening match of the World Mondial of 1990 against Cameroon; however, Argentina eventually managed to reach the finals.
On his part, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Beverage Company Coca-Cola/Cappy stated that the achievements made by the Company in the past did not come easily, but rather they were the outcome of hard work and dedication in confronting every challenge.
Zahi Khouri added that the World Cup tour starting from Palestine indicated the importance of the Company’s presence, something that meant a great deal to the Company. He went on to say that it was not strange for the Company to be active in the promotion of social responsibility principles by focusing on sponsoring and supporting various projects in several sectors, including education, health, sport and the environment.
Imad al-Hindi, General Manager of the Company, stated that the exceptional event meant a great deal to each and every Palestinians who loves his homeland and appreciates it successes, “Selecting Palestine to be the starting point for the World Cup tour in the Arab region will show that it is an essential part of the region’s structure as well as the world and will increase the level of expectations and challenges ahead for Palestine to continue its progress on the track of success.
On his part, Franklin expressed his happiness to be in Palestine with the beginning of the World Cup tour to visit a number of Palestinian areas. He highlighted his Company’s pride on the historical and robust relationship with FIFA.
It is worth mentioning that the World Cup tour started from Rio de Janeiro on 12th September 2013 from the site of the Christ the Redeemer Statue and will travel around the world for nine months before returning to the host country, Brazil for the 2014 World Cup. The FIFA developed the tour of the Cup in exclusive partnership with the Coca-Cola International, one of the FIFA’s most prominent and oldest partners. The first time the original World Cup Trophy made an unprecedented tour around the world was in 2006 when it visited 31 cities in 28 countries over a period of three months from 8th January to 10th April 2006 before the World Cup in Germany.
In the second time, the Cup visited 84 countries and 130 cities around the world, including 50 African countries to celebrate the first World Cup Championship held in Africa from September 2009 to May 2010 staring from Ukraine to New Zealand, passing through Kazakhstan, Greece, and Venezuela, in addition to a number of other cities. Mr. Munir Al-Ghoul, Sports Editor of Al-Quds newspaper moderated the press conference.