Belfast Telegraph

World Cup trophy on way to Belfast

Coveted prize bound for premiere of football film Shooting for Socrates

By Steven Beacom

Northern Ireland has been handed the honour of hosting the World Cup.

Not the tournament itself, but the most iconic trophy in sport which will be coming here later this month.

In a unique development, Fifa, football's world governing body, has sanctioned that the famous trophy will leave its headquarters in Zurich and be flown to Belfast to be present at the premiere of the much anticipated film Shooting for Socrates, the highlight of this year's Belfast Film Festival.

The first screening of the movie will be at the Waterfront Hall on April 24, with the World Cup in attendance, under tight security.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter personally gave the all-clear for the World Cup to make the special journey in recognition of Northern Ireland's Jim Boyce, vice-president of Fifa, who will be guest of honour at the premiere.

The trophy is what is termed as the 'actual World Cup', the one which will be handed to the winners of the 2018 tournament to be staged in Russia.

A replica of the trophy has been in Northern Ireland twice before when England (1966) and France (1998) played friendlies at Windsor Park months after winning the World Cup and brought their coveted prize with them.

The World Cup's visit to Belfast is down to ex-Northern Ireland star David Campbell, whose astonishing journey to make his full international debut against Brazil in the World Cup finals in 1986 is the subject of Shooting for Socrates.

Fifa executives have already watched the movie and according to Boyce were extremely impressed by the script which was written by the award-winning Marie Jones and directed by James Erskine, who first met Campbell at the Cannes Film Festival.

The cast of Shooting for Socrates includes John Hannah as Northern Ireland manager Billy Bingham, Conleth Hill (Game of Thrones) as TV presenter Jackie Fullerton, Ciaran McMenamin (Primeval) as the 1986 captain Sammy McIlroy and Nico Miraellegro as a young Campbell.

Lorraine Sass, David's partner, plays Bingham's wife Rebecca.

Campbell said: "The Fifa World Cup Winners Trophy is the ultimate prize in football and at long last we can say it's coming to Northern Ireland.

"Jim Boyce is much admired in world football and to have been granted the honour of Jim and the Fifa World Cup Winners Trophy being present at the premiere is amazing."


Shooting for Socrates is a new movie which tells the tale of when the Northern Ireland football team was drawn to play against Brazil in the 1986 World Cup. A star-studded turnout is expected for its UK premiere at the Waterfront Hall on April 24. The screening is one of the main events of the Belfast Film Festival. It features an east Belfast father and son who get caught up in the footie fervour for the game.

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