Dispute over ownership stops auction of Maradona’s 1986 Golden Ball trophy

June 3 – The auction of the Golden Ball trophy awarded to the late Diego Maradona that was planned for this week has been postponed amid a judicial investigation into the possible resale of stolen goods.

Maradona’s heirs initially failed to stop the June 6 auction of the trophy he received for being the best player at the 1986 World Cup when a French court ruled it could go ahead.

But their lawyer subsequently lodged an appeal and auction house Aguttes, clearly frustrated, says the sale is now off.

“Maradona has always aroused passions, and this continues despite the recent court ruling on Thursday, which we welcome and which dismissed the heirs’ request for a ban on the sale,” Maximilien Aguttes said in a statement.

“Our mission is to organise the auction in the best possible conditions, both for our seller and for the buyers. This litigious climate and these uncertainties do not allow connoisseurs to approach this acquisition calmly, and our role as a trusted third party can no longer be properly fulfilled.”

Maradona’s trophy went missing for decades after it disappeared in uncertain circumstances and only recently resurfaced. His heirs say it was stolen and claimed the current owner wasn’t entitled to sell it.

But Aguttes, who expects the trophy “to fetch millions due to its uniqueness”, argued it reappeared in 2016 among other lots that were acquired from a private collection at auction in Paris. The current owner claims that when he bought the trophy years ago he was not aware it had been stolen.

The French court ruling that initially gave the go-ahead noted the absence of “any criminal complaint lodged by the footballer during his lifetime”.

Maradona, who died in 2020 aged 60,  captained Argentina in their 3-2 win over West Germany in the 1986 final in Mexico City. In the quarterfinal win over England he scored both the infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal and the ‘Goal of the Century’.

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