Today, President Serzh Sargsyan attended a ceremonious event at the Spendiarian National Academic Opera and Ballet Theater to welcome the FIFA World Cup Trophy to our country. The President of Armenia joined the event together with little Serzh, his football fan grandson.
In line with the prescribed protocol which states that during the World Cup Trophy Tour, the Head of State and the FIFA World Cup Champions receive it in the host country, President Sargsyan took over the trophy from Christian Karembeu, a 1998 FIFA World Cup Champion from France national team. The most prominent football award, the Gold Cup, has been traveling for the 4th time on an international tour that will last 220 days and includes more than 50 countries, of which 24 will be presented for the first time, including Armenia.
At the end of the ceremony, FIFA representative Lucas Rakhov donated a small duplicate of the golden cup by the International Football Federation, and Brazil’s Ambassador to Armenia Agemar de Mendonça Sanctos gave the Armenian President a football shirt sent by legendary footballer Pele featuring the latter’s autograph.
President Sargsyan addressed the event with a welcoming speech:
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear football fans,
I am delighted that in the run-up to the 2018 World Cup, we can host this remarkable trophy in Armenia.
Football is a unique world that unites billions of people, regardless of color, religion, sex, age, education, and so on. All they have in common is love for this awesome game.
Every football fan knows very well that football has the same unbreakable rules anywhere in the world. Perhaps, we enjoy and spend most of our lifetime watching live football games, during which players show willpower, stubbornness, determination and, in many cases, an amazingly subtle performance.
It is no coincidence that hundreds of millions of people worship the football stars who can make us feel happy; promote awareness of their native countries. Of course, football is not politicized, but these people often weigh in politics. We know this very well by Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s example. I do believe that at this point at least, there is no other Armenian in the world to make our people as much recognizable. We wish Henrikh every success in his career. I am sure that most of you have watched the latest Premier League game that featured Henrikh’s appearance in Arsenal.
I think it was a success. I feel sure that this is the outset of a new career. Let Henrikh know that all of us wish him good luck, we are with him soul and heart, and he still has a lot to do. Henrikh is the leader of our national team, and the other guys on our team are setting an example for our teenagers, which is very important.
I am confident that youth and children keep saying to themselves how good it is to live a healthy lifestyle every time they watch football. I would like to thank the authors of this idea and, of course, the implementers. This is also a good opportunity to talk about the importance of this game so that we can join all the football fans.
Footballers are at odds as they have to play in different teams and defend the cause and the reputation of their teams, but they come together after each game. We, too, the football fans are united in this respect.
I look forward to seeing you this summer when the World Cup will start, and I am sure that either you do so. I will enjoy the most important games watching them either in the stadium or before the TV set.
Thank you very much. We are really grateful to you. It is a great honor for us to see you, Mr. Karembeu, in Armenia and admire the splendor of this cup for which many celebrities have fought and will be fighting ahead.