Italy Now Wearing Official “FIFA World Champions” Badge
More than 800 days have passed since that magical night in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on 9 July 2006, when, after overcoming France on penalties in an enthralling 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™ final, Italy were crowned kings of the sport for a fourth time.
Just days before the Azzurri kicked off their bid to reach the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ Final, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, accompanied by a FIFA delegation including Secretary General Jerome Valcke, visited the Italian football association (FIGC) technical centre in Coverciano to bestow a special accolade upon their hosts. They were there to present the first “FIFA World Champions Badge”, which Italy will now wear on their jerseys.
They did so for the first time during their opening qualifier against Cyprus in Larnaca on 6 September, a close encounter that Marcello Lippi’s charges won 2-1.
The Italian players proudly displayed the badge on their chests, just above their shirt numbers and below the FIGC emblem The traditional blue home shirt features a white badge with the FIFA World Cup Trophy embroidered in gold, while the white away jersey has a gold badge with a white trophy.
Following a brief yet rousing ceremony, Blatter handed the FIFA World Cup Trophy to Fabio Cannavaro – a gesture that had initially been the suggestion of the Italian captain himself. The centre-back received the trophy in the presence of every member of the Germany 2006-winning squad, and to a standing ovation from the audience.
Among the guests in attendance were Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) President and ambassador for Italian sport Gianni Petrucci, together with FIGC President Giancarlo Abete, who opened the ceremony with some simple yet perceptive insight. “The Technical Centre in which we are gathered today will very soon be celebrating its
50th anniversary,” he said. “This place is characterised by a competitive and sporting dimension, which this ceremony expresses on the grandest scale. The award that we are receiving today from FIFA is a point of arrival, but also a point of departure. A point of arrival because it serves to commemorate the many moments of joy that Italian football has given to its country and to its people. A point of departure because from now on our national shirt, thanks to FIFA, will further underline the message that we are the champions of the world. We have always felt at home at the FIFA World Cup™ and we will be working hard to return to that place where we feel so at ease.”
Blatter added: “More than 30 years ago I was here among the hills of Florence, in this technical centre, even before most of the footballers standing before me were born. I am here to represent the summit and the grassroots of football, a sport that is a school of life, capable of
offering so many children hope and joy in a complex world. Today is an important day for FIFA, as it is for the Italian team, because from this moment forth we will identify the champions of the world with a badge. Winning the FIFA World Cup™ is the highest achievement in football and we believe that such an achievement deserves special recognition. Italy are the first national team to enjoy this privilege, and deservedly so because they have won the title on no less than four occasions. Italy’s players will wear this badge until 2010.”
The ceremony was brought to a close by the FIFA President, who unveiled Italy’s official new jersey with the badge at its centre. The FIGC then presented him with his own honorary shirt, emblazoned with the number 9. The number 10 shirt had already been reserved for CONI President Petrucci. Finally, FIFA presented the FIGC with a pennant featuring an oversized version of the “FIFA World Champions Badge”.