The 2006 FIFA World Cup has a new face GOLEO VI, the Official Mascot, who was unveiled at a press conference in Leipzig on Saturday, 13 November. The cheeky lion and his loyal companion, Pille the talking football, were introduced to the world by football legend Pelé and LOC President Franz Beckenbauer. "This is a dream come true for me. Being the Official Mascot is my dream job," beamed GOLEO VI at his press debut.
Go to the Mascot Zone to get to know about GOLEO VI
In GOLEO VI, FIFA has for the first ever time a versatile, "living" character as its Official Mascot. GOLEO VI can talk, dance, play music and make people laugh. Unlike their more static predecessors such as "World Cup Willie" (England 1966) or "Tip and Tap" (Germany 1974), GOLEO VI and Pille's enigmatic personalities will add to their versatility. In today's media-driven society, FIFA places great importance on the Official Mascot as an image with which fans can identify. With this in mind, FIFA chose the Jim Henson Company the world leaders in puppet production as its partner in this innovative project.
"GOLEO VI is a great guy and he looks fantastic. Even his name tells you he is a big football fan! I have met him a few times in recent weeks and we have had a lot of fun together. I am sure the fans will too. I think GOLEO VI will prove to be a very popular figure indeed," said Franz Beckenbauer.
The lovable lion, who admits to being football-mad, also tried his luck at penalty kicks, prompting Pelé to observe, "GOLEO VI has a lot of self-confidence. Still, he's not quite Brazilian with a football! But as a mascot, he is certainly in a class of his own."
Just after the press conference, GOLEO VI also made his official TV debut with an appearance on "Wetten, dass..?", a programme that boasts the highest evening viewing figures in the whole of Europe. "I want to help create a fantastic atmosphere before the event gets underway, and with Pille a walking football encyclopaedia who knows absolutely everything there is to know about football we also have a real football expert on board," explained GOLEO VI.
The name GOLEO VI is derived from his father's encouraging cries of "Go Leo, Go!" during football matches, while FIFA has added the number because GOLEO was the sixth applicant for the position of Official Mascot.
In the weeks ahead, GOLEO VI and Pille will be appearing in front of the cameras in their own TV series, which will be produced by EM.TV AG for free-to-air channels, pay-per-view television and home entertainment media. They will also have a number of official appearances as World Cup ambassadors, starting with the opening of the Official 2006 FIFA World Cup Shop in Leipzig on Monday, 15 November. The dynamic duo will also be at the Germany v. Cameroon friendly match in the new Zentralstadion the following Wednesday.
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