A Football Award to Treasure – The Copa America Centenario’s Trophy is Unveiled

On Thursday 28 April 2016, the South American Football Association (CONMEBOL) and the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) unveiled a new trophy which will be presented to the winners of this year’s Copa America Centenario competition.

The nation that wins the 2016 tournament, which is set to take place from 3 – 26 June, will be able to keep the cup in its awards cabinet for posterity. So what’s so special about the Copa America Centenario’s trophy and how does it compare with the version that the victors usually receive?

A New Trophy to Mark a Historic Occasion

The 2016 Copa America trophy has been specifically designed for use at a competition being held to mark the one hundredth anniversary of the world’s oldest international continental football tournament. It took 89 days for US-based Epico Studios to design the new cup and 98 days for British silversmiths, Thomas Lyte, to make it. Initially, this may seem like a long-drawn out process, but the amount of work that’s gone into crafting this trophy is obvious at a glance.

The designers used the existing Copa America trophy as inspiration, so the new cup boasts the same urn-style shape. The outside of the centenary award, however, is made from gold, while the original cup is made from silver.

The special edition trophy’s exterior features an engraving of the tournament’s emblem, together with the words “Copa America” and “Centenario – USA 2016” on the front. It also includes a map of North, Central America, South America and the Caribbean on the reverse, and has the centenary dates (1916 – 2016) engraved upon it. The logos of CONMEBOL and CONCACAF are included on the top, while the base, which is plated with 24-karat gold, is covered with the names of the participating nations.

Usually only twelve teams compete in the Copa America, which is held once every four years. The centenary competition is a one-off event, however, as the most recent tournament was held in 2015, so the traditional rules don’t apply. Therefore, the list of invited countries has been expanded and sixteen teams will be taking part: the United States of America, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Bolivia, Paraguay, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Haiti, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Venezuela, Colombia and Panama.

Two feet tall and weighing almost sixteen pounds, the new trophy is more compact than the original, but will still look just as stunning when the winners hold it aloft.

The Classic Trophy – One of Football’s Most Coveted Awards

One of the most recognisable football trophies in the world, the original cup is impressive, standing 29.5 inches tall and weighing 19.75 pounds.

With a design based on a Grecian urn, it has a classic air about it, but it also looks as stylish as many more modern awards. Made from silver, it features magnificent engraved detailing, while its chunky wooden base is adorned with plaques featuring the names of the teams which have won it during the course of the tournament’s rich history.

The Copa America trophy was designed and manufactured by Escasanay Jewellers of Buenos Aires. Purchased by Argentina’s Ministry of Affairs, at a cost of 3000 Swiss Francs, it was donated to CONMEBOL in 1916 and presented to Uruguay, the winners of the inaugural Copa America tournament, the same year.

Despite the beauty of the new version of the Cup, there’s no doubt that the winners of future Copa America tournaments will still be keen to get their hands on the original award. Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, Chile, Columbia and Bolivia have all been victors at the event and each of these nations will be keen to add more plaques bearing their names to the bottom of the cup. On the other hand, the rest of the countries involved will be fighting for their first wins as well.

Essentially, whilst the Copa America Centenario trophy is definitely an award fit for such a significant sporting event, the original cup will remain one that every eligible nation wants to win.

What do you think of the Copa America Centenario trophy? Do you prefer the special edition award or the classic cup? Tell us what you think.