French court stops the sale of Maradona's World Cup Golden Ball trophy amid ownership dispute

Wed, Jun 5, 2024
Soccer News (AP)

French court stops the sale of Maradona's World Cup Golden Ball trophy amid ownership dispute

Diego Maradona's heirs won an appeal ruling to stop the auction of a trophy the late soccer great was awarded after the 1986 World Cup when a French court ordered it placed in judicial possession on Wednesday.

The appeal court in Versailles overturned a judicial decision last month that allowed the trophy's auction to go ahead as planned despite the opposition from Maradona's heirs.

The tribunal argued there was a genuine dispute as to the ownership of the World Cup Golden Ball that Maradona received for being the best player of the 1986 tournament. Pending a decision on the merits of the case, it ordered its sequestration to avoid any risk of further disappearance of the trophy, which resurfaced after being missing for decades.

Gilles Moreu, a lawyer for the heirs, told The Associated Press he will now lodge a legal action to have a court look at the merits of the case and decide who owns the trophy.

"We are satisfied with this decision, which complies with our requests and reassures my clients," he said.

French judicial officials last month opened an investigation after they received a complaint related to the resale of allegedly stolen goods.

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The Golden Ball disappeared in uncertain circumstances. Maradona's heirs say the trophy was stolen and claimed the current owner wasn't entitled to sell it. The auction house Aguttes said the trophy reappeared in 2016 among other lots that were acquired from a private collection at auction in Paris.

The current owner and Aguttes claimed that when he bought the trophy years ago he was not aware it had been stolen.

Maradona received the award in 1986 at a ceremony in Paris. It subsequently disappeared, giving rise to rumors. One is that Maradona stored it in a safe in a Naples bank that was robbed by local gangsters in 1989 when he played in the Italian league. Maradona's heirs believe it was stolen from the bank.

Maradona, who died in 2020 at age 60, captained Argentina in its 3-2 win over West Germany in the 1986 final in Mexico City.

Aguttes decided last week to postpone the sale that was planned on Thursday, citing a "litigious climate" and "uncertainties (which) do not allow connoisseurs to approach this acquisition calmly."


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