On September 9, the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour™ by Coca‑Cola was launched at the Luzhniki stadium In Moscow. In less than a year, this arena will host an event that millions of football fans all over the world have been anticipating – the opening of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™.

What does this kick off mean to us, the Coca‑Cola system in Russia? Up until September 8, we lived in anticipation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup™, and now we can say with confidence, for us – it has begun! What’s more, for the first time in history of the Coca‑Cola system in Russia, the president took part in, and officially launched, our event.

 

The kick-off ceremony was attended by the FIFA President Gianni Infantino and legendary football players Bebeto and David Trezeguet, as well as a number of top stakeholders, including chairman of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Local Organising Committee and Russia’s Deputy PM Vitaly Mutko. On behalf of the Coca‑Cola System’s top management; Nikos Koumettis, Stefanos Vafeidis, Ljubo Grujic, Dusan Stojanik and Mickael Vinet took part in the event.

 

The kick-off attracted a lot of media attention, with over 200 Russian and international media representatives there. Before his formal presentation on stage, Nikos Koumettis, President of The Coca‑Cola Company in Central and Eastern Europe, met FIFA legends and a number of top-tier federal stakeholders.

 

“With the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca‑Cola, we’re aiming to enable fans to create more memorable experiences across Russia and throughout the world”, sad Nikos Koumettis, addressing the audience.

 

“We’re pleased that we’re joining forces with FIFA, the Local Organising Committee and the Ministry of Sport of the Russian Federation so that the Coca‑Cola System in Russia can use this extraordinary opportunity to promote youth football development. We’ll highlight the need for sports, and football in particular, to be inclusive and available to everyone – including those with physical or intellectual disabilities.”

 

This is why the kick-off ceremony also featured some 1, 500 young football players and Special Olympics athletes from Russia having master classes on the Luzhniki pitch. They were the very first to play at the newly renovated arena. Special Olympics athletes and the Leather Ball plays will be further involved in 2018 FIFA World Cup events, including the final match where the Leather Ball 2017 winning team will act as ball boys.

 

The Coca‑Cola employees also got a chance to get a memorable team photo with the Official Trophy on stage.

 

“The commencing of the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca‑Cola means the start of a true football celebration across all Coca‑Cola Systems in Russia! I believe there’s not a single Coca‑Cola employee in this country who would stay uninvolved in this fantastic journey. My congratulations to all of you!” said Stefanos Vafeidis, General Manager of Coca‑Cola HBC in Russia.

 

Right after the kick-off, the Official Trophy and FIFA legends visited Channel 1. As a result, a special report was featured in the 9pm news. The same evening, it hit the road towards 24 Russian cities from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok, Krasnoyarsk being the first stop. The Trophy Tour will also visit over 50 countries around the globe.