Brazil and FIFA have released the mascot for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and they have chosen an endangered armadillo, according to BBC News.
The mascot is usually light brown, but the mascot is yellow with green eyes and a blue shell for the country’s flag. It was unveiled by former Brazil striker Ronaldo while on TV, according to the news source.
“The mascot will play a key ambassadorial role in the next two years,” Ronaldo, who played in three World Cups, said on Brazilian television. “I’m sure he will inspire many young football fans in Brazil and all over the world with the great passion which he has for the sport and for his country.”
The three-banded armadillos live in Brazil’s arid northeast and are threatened due to habitat destruction. They are different than other armadillos because they can roll up in a ball to protect themselves against a predator, the media outlet reports.
“The mascot is one of the key visuals of a FIFA World Cup, providing FIFA, the LOC [local organising committee] and other stakeholders with a strong and exciting brand asset through which promotional campaigns can be activated and target audiences can be engaged,” said FIFA in a statement.
A few days after FIFA revealed the mascot, they came up with names, according to The Global Times. Amijubi, Fuleco and Zuzeco are the names to be chosen from. A panel of individuals fused Portuguese words with the meanings joy, econology, football and blue. However, these names were heavily criticized by Brazilians, who wished they had more say in the process. FIFA was quick to defend themselves.
“When the original plan was drafted we thought about having an open system in which the public could suggest names,” FIFA said in a statement. “However it was impossible to put this process into practice due to the complexity of legislation regarding intellectual property.”
Brazil is still protesting the names even after the statement was made, and an online petition has been circulating. By this past Saturday morning, it already had 30,000 signatures, the media outlet reports.