When the draw for UEFA EURO 2008™ takes place on Friday, coaches from around Europe will have their eyes on a new prize. For the first time since the Soviet Union won the inaugural UEFA European Championship in 1960, a new trophy is up for grabs. The new Henri Delaunay trophy has retained the name and style of the original, but has been brought up to date to reflect the scale and size of Europe's most prestigious national-team tournament.
Bigger and better
"We felt the EURO was one of the two most important international football competitions in the world, but that the trophy was very small and a little bit anonymous so the President [Lennart Johansson] thought we should study the possibility of changing it," UEFA communications director William Gaillard said. "We rapidly abandoned the idea of having a golden trophy - we thought we could leave that for the world competitions. Also, we decided people had got used to the shape of the trophy. The problem was it was very small, much smaller than the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Cup trophies, for instance. And so we decided to make it larger."
It is almost an exact replica, though not quite. A small figure juggling a ball on the back of the original has been removed, as has the marble plinth. The silver base of the trophy also had to be enlarged to make it stable. The names of the winning countries that had appeared on the plinth have now been engraved on the back of the trophy, which is made of sterling silver, weighs 8kgs and is 60cm tall.
The responsibility for creating the original went to Pierre Delaunay, son of Henri Delaunay, the visionary behind the competition. Henri Delaunay died in 1955 before seeing his idea come to fruition, but the new prize is testament to his enduring legacy. Unlike other designs for UEFA trophies, the new-look Henri Delaunay trophy has maintained its classic style. "We've kept it because this competition goes back to 1960, but if you look at some of the other trophies we have they are very avant-garde looking," Gaillard said. "Some of the women's trophies and the Under-17 and U19 trophies, are very stylised, very modern, but this one we just wanted to keep the way it was."
Unlike the original, which was the work of the Chobillon goldsmith and was later bought by Arthus Bertrand in Paris, making the modern equivalent was entrusted to Asprey London. Asprey, renowned silversmiths, jewellers and goldsmiths, have a long history of trophy-making stretching back to the America's Cup, which their sister company Garrard made in 1848. "UEFA wanted to improve on the quality but also the scale of the trophy," Asprey spokesman Steven Maddison said. "They wanted to have a focal point for the event and the trophy they had was fairly small for doing that.
"We had to keep to quite a strict guideline as it needed to reflect the trophy that went before," he added. "We've enlarged it and tweaked it slightly but the actual style and shape is pretty much as it was. The quality of the metal used is much higher and the workmanship is of a much higher quality. You won't find a superior trophy." The eventual winners of UEFA EURO 2008™ will second that. Greece's Theodoros Zagorakis was the last captain to lift the old trophy in Lisbon in July 2004. Whoever follows his lead will be getting his hands on an even more substantial reward.
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