Thomas Lyte are honoured to be the designers and makers of the AFC Asian Cup, for one of the most prestigious tournaments in Asian football. Our team of master craftsmen and -women handcrafted the remarkable trophy, that has been handed to the winners since 2019.
Made in London and unveiled at Dubai’s iconic Burj Khalifa in May 2018, this show-stopping trophy is one of football’s greatest prizes, in every sense. First played in 1956 – making it the second oldest international tournament after the FIFA World Cup – the AFC Asian Cup is now established as one of the standout events in the sport’s global calendar.
Royal Warrant Holders as silversmiths and goldsmiths to Her Majesty the Queen, Thomas Lyte has designed, made and restored some of world football’s most recognisable and eminent trophies, including the Emirates FA Cup. In terms of its vision, revolutionary design and intricacy, the AFC Asian Cup is as extraordinary as any that have left our workshop.
“At Thomas Lyte, we have produced many incredible trophies across the globe, but the idea of creating the AFC Asian Cup was something else,” said Kevin Baker, Thomas Lyte’s CEO and founder. “This is a wonderful, art-deco inspired piece, but it’s also very organic and modernistic in style.”
Based on the Lotus Flower – an enormously important symbol of peace in Asia – the five petals represent the five different regions contained within the AFC’s enormously broad reach.
The AFC Asian Cup stands at an imposing 78cm in height and is an extraordinary 42cm wide. Hand-crafted in London, the trophy was a labour of love for our specialists, with 12 of our Master Craftsmen working on a piece of silverware that was handed to the tournament’s winners for the first time in the UAE in 2019.
Qatar were the recipients, becoming the first team to lift a trophy forged from 15kg of hallmarked sterling silver, and meticulously crafted over 400 hours, with traditional silversmith techniques harnessed alongside the very latest in cutting-edge technology. In all, it took 230 hours of hammering by hand to create the distinctive, organic shape of a trophy that is already renowned as one of the most striking in global sport.
Getting the depth required for the lotus flower was a daunting prospect, even for the most experienced of silversmiths, The hammer blows to the trophy remain, magnificently intact on the inside of the trophy – an enduring testimony to the techniques that were essential to its creation. The teamwork that went into making the trophy and the brand values contained within it, directly mirror the ethos of the competition and the teams that compete for it every four years.
The excitement that surrounded its unveiling in Dubai also reflected the thrill felt by Thomas Lyte as the trophy went through its various stages of production and the pride when our quality control team finally deemed it ready to leave London and head to the Middle East.
The AFC Asian Cup is not only one of the most prestigious in world football, it’s also one of the oldest competitions in the global game. First played in 1956, the inaugural contest took place in Hong Kong and involved just four teams – the hosts, South Vietnam, Israel and eventual winners, South Korea.
Since that first tournament, the competition has blossomed and regularly broken new ground. In 2007, for example, the Asian Cup became the first major international tournament to be hosted by more than two nations, with Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand all acting as a home from home for those teams taking part.
By the time Thomas Lyte’s new creation had been unveiled in the UAE, the qualifying tournament for the 2019 Asian Cup alone had attracted 45 countries and over three million spectators. The tournament itself featured 24 teams, all of them eyeing the opportunity to become the first winners of the London-made trophy.
Thomas Lyte has a proud record of working alongside some of the largest and prestigious organisations in world football. In addition to the AFC Asian Cup, we are designers and makers of the AFC Player of the Year Awards. We are honoured to be the makers of the Emirates FA Cup as part of our partnership with the FA, and are the makers of the CONCACAF Champions League trophy, another of global football’s most coveted prizes.