World Cup trophy tour comes to hockey country

Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:22pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

TORONTO (Reuters) - The World Cup trophy ventured into Stanley Cup territory on Wednesday, providing onlookers a glimpse of the contrasting lifestyles for two of sport's most cherished and well-recognized prizes.

The 18-carat gold trophy, on an eight-month tour stretched across five continents and 83 countries ahead of this year's World Cup in South Africa, came to Canada, a soccer outpost that has only qualified for one World Cup and failed to score a goal.

But despite the lack of a soccer pedigree, the hockey crazed Canadians showed the World Cup trophy plenty of love and snapped up thousands of free tickets to have photos taken with soccer's top prize.

The trophy could not be touched and was stored in a clear protective case displayed in a no-touch zone that was enforced by security fit of a president.

When it was time to pack up the World Cup a black velvet blanket raised around the stand - and when it dropped the trophy was gone.

"There's no big mystery, it is just part of the security measures," FIFA spokesman Bryan Chenault told Reuters about the trophy's disappearing act. "All I can tell you is that it is guarded around the clock and under lock and key."

Chenault said when the trophy is not being shipped around the world it is stored in Zurich at an undisclosed location.

RECLUSIVE ROYAL   Continued...

<p>Photographers take pictures of the FIFA World Cup trophy upon its arrival at Tokyo's Haneda airport during the Trophy Tour in Tokyo April 23, 2010. REUTERS/Toru Hanai</p>