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The FIFA Women’s World Cup Trophy has become a familiar sight in the build up to France 2019, but what’s not so well known is the history of the trophy that is awarded to the winners of the tournament.
In a parallel with the men’s World Cup, there have been two trophies, and remarkably, just as was the case with the Jules Rimet Cup, the first Women’s World Cup trophy was also stolen.
The current trophy, which will be presented to the winners in France this summer, was first awarded at the third World Cup, in the USA in 1999. Designed by William Sawaya of the Milan firm Sawaya and Moroni, it weighs 4.6 kilos and stands at 47cms tall. It is made from gold-plated brass with a base made from candeias granite. As with the men’s trophy, underneath there is a gold disk which lists the winners.
At the first World Cup, in China in 1991, however, as well as four years later in Sweden, a different trophy was presented to the winners and that’s where the mystery begins.
For the launch of the Women’s World Cup, FIFA commissioned Angelo Brogioli to make a trophy. Perhaps mindful of the theft of the Jules Rimet Cup in 1966 and again in 1983, two identical copies were created.
The trophy Norway returned home with after beating Germany in the 1995 Final, was put on display in the offices of the Norwegian football association. Unfortunately, this coincided with the renovation in 1997 of the Ullevaal stadium in Oslo where the association is based, and it was during this work that the trophy disappeared.
Despite a recent newspaper campaign urging that the thieves return it anonymously, the trophy has not been seen since the day it was stolen.
Fortunately for football fans, the other copy remained safely in the hands of FIFA and is regularly on display in the FIFA World Football Museum in Zurich.
The 1999 finals in the USA were rebranded as a World Cup – the first two tournaments were officially known as the FIFA World Championship for Women’s Football – and with that came the new World Cup trophy which was first presented to Carla Overbeck that year. Since then it has been lifted by Germany’s Bettina Wiegmann and Birgit Prinz, Japan’s Homare Sawa, while both Abby Wambach and Christie Rampone lifted the trophy together in 2015.