Kolkata, Jan 16: Three West Bengal ministers landed themselves into trouble on Friday, Jan 15, when they touch the World Cup trophy which is against the FIFA protocol.
West Bengal Sports Minister Kanti Ganguly, PWD Minister Kshiti Goswami and Fire Services Minister Pratim Chatterjee touch the 18-carat gold trophy after it was unveiled by Germany's 1990 World Cup winning captain Lothar Matthaeus.
"The standard policy for both the African and Global legs of the tour is that only Heads of State and former World Cup winners are able to touch/hold the trophy," FIFA Media Officer Lingling Liu said.
Stating that they have to be more careful in the coming two days, Liu said that as a 'goodwill gesture' FIFA will take any offence.
"As this was the first leg of the global tour and the West Bengal ministers were the highest ranking Indian dignitaries present, a special dispensation was granted, as a goodwill gesture. After all, The Trophy was at all time in the hands of Matthaeus and the ministers just touched it for a few seconds," she added.
Meanwhile, AIFF vice-president Subrata Dutta said that the ministers may have done it out of ignorance.
"Obviously, they are not aware of such a FIFA protocol. They did not wish to harm the trophy. Even if they have done it, it would have unintentional," Dutta said.
When Lothar Matthaeus unveiled the Fifa World Cup at a plush city hotel on Friday and walked up the dais to give the packed house and the jostling photographers a better view, Goswami could not control his excitement. “In the heat of the moment" — well that"s what the official reaction is — he helped the German legend in holding aloft the Cup.
The incident happened when Matthaeus lifted up the cup to give the crowd a better view, that is when Goswami who was sharing the dais decided to lend a 'hand'.
Seeing Goswami, the other two ministers too went ahead and touched the cup, presumably unaware of the FIFA policy violation.
However, sources said that the ministers, including the dignitaries and the former players were well aware of the policy.
"Obviously they (ministers) got carried away by the situation, " they said.