It’s a brand new trophy that Spain got as champs

June 30th, 2008 - 11:32 am ICT by IANS  

By Mehru Jaffer
Vienna, June 30 (IANS) Spain, the new European football champion, received the EURO 2008 trophy Sunday night at a colourful ceremony attended by royalty and boisterous fans. Yet this is not the trophy that Spain held in its hand when it last won the same championship 44 years ago. Greece, the previous Euro champion, has never touched this winning trophy either.

The trophy that was tied with ribbons red and yellow in the colours of the Spanish flag and handed over to Spain after the country won the EURO 2008 championship 1-0 in the final game against Germany is a brand new trophy.

To match the scaling grandeur of the game the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) felt it essential to give the trophy a new look. The new UEFA trophy is 18 cm higher and two kilograms heavier than the original designed by Arthus Bertrand in 1960. The trophy is called Henri Delaunay after the former president of the French Football Federation.

The upper part is based on the original trophy and is also made of sterling silver. The new trophy, created by Asprey London, retains its historical name and has been spruced up to reflect the scale and size of Europe’s most prestigious international tournament.

The new one is a replica of the old one although not quite. A small figure juggling a ball on the back of the original has been removed along with the marble plinth. The silver base of the trophy is enlarged to make it stable. The names of the winning countries that had appeared on the plinth are now engraved on the back of the trophy, which is made of sterling silver, weighs eight kilograms and is 60 cm tall.

The old one was designed by Pierre Delaunay, son of Henri, the visionary behind the competition. The original was the work of the Chobillon goldsmith and later bought by Arthus Bertrand in Paris.

The new one is renovated by Asprey London, the renowned silversmiths, jewellers and goldsmiths with a long history of trophy-making stretching back to the America’s Cup, which their sister company Garrard made in 1848.

According to reports from the office of Michael Haupl, the mayor of Vienna and co host of the Euro 2008 games along with Switzerland, UEFA saw the original trophy as too small for the grand spectacle that EURO 2008 has become.

The finals Sunday night were watched by Spain’s King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophie and by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Fans came in 35 charter and 280 private jet planes on the day of the match, setting a new record at Vienna’s air terminal, said Brigitta Pngratz, airport spokesperson.

“Fan flyers” flew in millions of fans into Austria over the one month period that the games were held here. The fans were cleared into the city through “fan terminals” at the airport.

Four special trains brought fans from Germany totalling the number to 40,000 German fans alone. Some 15,000 Spanish fans flew into Vienna, making the most noise around the city to make up perhaps for numerically being a smaller group than the German fans.

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