Deepika Padukone unveiled the FIFA World Cup 2022 trophy in her capacity as a brand ambassador of Louis Vuitton, who made the travel case for the cup.
During the closing ceremonies for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, former Spanish national goalkeeper Iker Casillas and Indian actor Deepika Padukone brought out and unveiled the official trophy. Some Twitter users speculated why Padukone was there, as India did not participate in the tournament. Some claimed that she was present at the ceremony to promote her upcoming film "Pathaan." The posts said that Padukone's co-star Shah Rukh Khan had ties to the Qatari royal family and that Qatari money had illegally funded the film's production. This led to some users saying they would join the existing calls to boycott the film.
However, Padukone was there in her capacity as a brand ambassador. Claims about Khan and the film's connections to Qatar are unsubstantiated.
The case in which the trophy was kept was designed by the French fashion house, Louis Vuitton. According to their website, Louis Vuitton has partnered with sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup, the Davis Cup, the Rugby World Cup, and the Formula 1 Grand Prix De Monaco, among others, to specially design trunks allowing the trophies for these events to be transported and displayed safely.
Louis Vuitton announced Padukone as their House Ambassador in May 2022, making her the first Indian woman to hold the position. On December 18, Louis Vuitton posted an image of the trophy unveiling ceremony to Instagram. The caption read: "Victory travels in Louis Vuitton. Deepika Padukone and Iker Casillas presented the ultimate prize in football in a bespoke Louis Vuitton trophy trunk at the FIFA World Cup 2022 Final."
Louis Vuitton's Instagram account also shared a video of Padukone getting ready for the event, captioning it, "A day at the Fifa World Cup 2022 Final with Deepika Padukone. The House Ambassador got ready with Louis Vuitton before revealing the ultimate prize in football."
According to FIFA regulations, the original trophy, made of solid gold and weighing over 6 kg, must remain in the care of FIFA and cannot be awarded outright to the winning team. The norm is that it can only be touched and held by a select group of people, including former winners of the FIFA World Cup and heads of state. It is only temporarily presented to the champions before being retrieved by FIFA officials. The winning team is given a plated gold trophy that has been engraved with the relevant year, the name of the host country, and the winning nation.
After every FIFA World Cup final, the trophy is escorted and displayed on the ground in a case, which a World Cup winner and a Louis Vuitton brand ambassador accompany. According to FIFA, former German footballer Philipp Lahm, part of the 2014 winning team, and Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova, who has worked for Louis Vuitton, unveiled the trophy in Russia at the 2018 World Cup. In Brazil in 2014, the cup was unveiled by Carles Puyol, captain of the 2010 World Cup-winning Spanish team, and Louis Vuitton ambassador and Brazilian model Gisele Bundchen.
"Pathaan," starring Padukone and Khan, is scheduled to be released on January 25, 2023. The upcoming film has found itself mired in controversy after some objected to Padukone's outfits and one of the main songs. This has also led to a call to boycott the film.
Hindustan Times reported that Khan was in Qatar to promote the film and joined former footballer Wayne Rooney for a conversation before the final match. However, there are no reports to support that Padukone or Khan have any connections to Qatar or that the film received funding from Qatar. Additionally, the film has been directed by Siddharth Anand and produced by Aditya Chopra for Yash Raj Films, both well-known names in Bollywood. Allegations that the film received funding from Qatar or the Qatari royal family, legally or illegally, do not have any basis.
Padukone's role in unveiling the trophy at the 2022 FIFA World Cup Final in Doha has no connection to India or Bollywood. The actor was representing French fashion house Louis Vuitton, who made the travel case for the trophy, in her capacity as a House Ambassador for the brand. There is no evidence that the Qatari royal family funded the production of the film "Pathaan." Therefore, we have marked the claim as false.