French auction house postpones sale of Maradona’s trophy amid rights dispute, judicial probe

An auction of the trophy awarded to the late Diego Maradona, scheduled for this week, has been postponed, French auction house Agutus said on Sunday amid a judicial inquiry into the possible resale of the stolen items.

Maradona’s heirs this week failed to launch an urgent legal motion to stop the bid for the Golden Ball trophy he won for best player at the 1986 World Cup. A French court ruled the auction could go ahead but a lawyer for Maradona’s heirs appealed.

„Maradona has always stirred emotions and this continues despite the recent court ruling on Thursday, which we welcome and reject the heirs’ request to ban the sale,” Maximilien Aguttes said in a statement. „Our aim is to organize an auction under the best conditions for both our seller and buyers. This litigation environment and these uncertainties do not allow interested parties to approach this acquisition calmly, and we can no longer properly fulfill our role as a trusted third party.

A new date for the auction is yet to be set.

French judicial authorities launched an investigation last month after receiving a complaint about the resale of stolen goods. The Nanterre prosecutor’s office said the court ruling had no impact on the investigation, which is still ongoing.

The Golden Ball disappeared under uncertain circumstances for decades and only recently reappeared. Maradona’s heirs claimed the trophy was stolen and the current owner had no right to sell it. Agutus said the cup reappeared elsewhere, acquired from a private collection at auction in Paris in 2016.

The current owner and Agutus said he had no idea the trophy was stolen when he bought it years ago.

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Maradona received the award in 1986 at a ceremony at the Lido Cabaret on the Champs-Élysées. Then it disappeared and gave way to rumours. Some say it was lost during a poker game or sold to pay off a debt. Others say Maradona stored it as a safe in a Naples bank that was robbed by local thugs while playing in the Italian league in 1989. Maradona’s heirs believe it was stolen from a bank.

The French court ruling noted that there was „no criminal complaint filed by the footballer during his lifetime” regarding the theft of the trophy, and noted that Maradona’s heirs presented no evidence of a police investigation. disappeared.

Maradona, Died in 2020 Aged 60, he captained Argentina to a 3-2 victory over West Germany in the 1986 final in Mexico City. He scored the „Hand of God” goal and the „Goal of the Century” in the quarter-final win over England.

Aguttes said he expects the cup to „make millions because of its uniqueness.”

The Hand of God goal came when Maradona flicked the ball into England’s net. Four minutes later, he blasted past England’s midfield and defense and past goalkeeper Peter Shilton in what FIFA later declared the greatest goal in World Cup history.

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AP Football: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

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