World-class trophy manufacturers, Thomas Lyte, are the makers of the Betking Ethiopian Premier League Trophy, the highest association football division in Ethiopia. As luxury silversmiths and Royal Warrant Holders to Her Majesty the Queen, Thomas Lyte were commissioned to manufacture the new perpetual trophy in 2021. The silver-plated trophy was finally unveiled to the world in October that same year, just in time for the beginning of the new elite football season.
The Betking Ethiopian Premier League Trophy was designed by Ethiopian agency Lomii Media. Both the shape and the engraving on the silver-plated trophy are direct references to the rich culture and heritage of Ethiopia. The shape itself referred to a traditional woven basket called the mesob, which plays the part of a dining table in a traditional Ethiopian home.
Due to the complexity of the artistic engraving, and the impressive size of the piece, collaboration between Thomas Lyte’s highly skilled team and Lomii Media was essential to ensure that their vision could be achieved.
Once the design was agreed, the master craftsmen and -women set to work using traditional silversmithing skills, many of which can be dated back thousands of years to the roman empire, combined with the latest methods in modern engineering.
The bespoke trophy was handcrafted in Thomas Lyte’s London-based silver workshops, taking more than ?? hours to complete. Standing at ??cm tall and weighing ??kg, the main body of the trophy was handspun in three separate sections in base metal.
The handles were cast separately using a process called lost-wax casting. This is where molten metal is poured into a plaster mould, melting away the wax copy of the desired handle.
The ball-shaped finial of the trophy was hand-chased under heat with a lightweight hammer and chisel to mimic the stitching of a football.
All of the pieces of the trophy were then polished, in preparation for engraving, with motorised polishing lathes spinning at over 3000 rpm. Once all of the pieces were polished, each piece was individually engraved. Careful precision was required to translate the engraving artwork from the design onto the beautiful curves of the one-of-a-kind trophy. The engraving alone took over ?? hours to complete.
The engraved pieces of the trophy were then silver plated in a chemical reaction called electroplating before finally being assembled into one piece, cleaned and passed on to Thomas Lyte’s quality control (QC) team for final approval. Having many of the world’s most iconic sporting trophies crafted or repaired in our workshops, including the Guinness Six Nations Trophy, The Rugby World Cup and The Emirates FA Cup to name a few, quality control is one of the most important stages in the process. The Ethiopian Premier League is no exception, with a QC team thoroughly checking it over before the, now finished, brand-new engraved trophy was carefully shipped to Ethiopia.
The trophy unveiling ceremony took place at the Haile Resort in Hawassa, Addis Ababa in October 2021. Ethiopian Football Federation President Isaias Jira and the president of the league, Captain Fekade Mamo, were joined by members of the association and other invited guests to celebrate the start of a new season, this time with a brand-new trophy that magnificently showcases the rich culture of Ethiopia.
Contested by sixteen clubs, the BetKing Ethiopian Premier League is similar in format to many other elite football leagues, with a double round-robin system that includes promotion from/relegation to other leagues in Ethiopia.
The league has been an annual competition since the 1997–98 season with Saint George S.C. emerging as the country’s leading club in this era with 14 titles, last winning in the 2016-17 season.
The winner of the Ethiopian Premier League automatically qualifies for the following year’s CAF Champions League.