A former World Cup referee is set to cash in on his biggest mistake – to the tune of around $3 million.
The ball used when Diego Maradona scored his notorious ‘Hand of God’ goal against England in the 1986 World Cup was auctioned off by the Tunisian referee who was in charge of the game and missed the most handball famous in football.
Graham Budd Auctions said on Thursday they expect the 36-year-old Adidas ball owned by ex-referee Ali Bin Nasser to fetch between $2.7 million and $3.3 million when it goes on sale in Britain on November 16, four days before the World Cup. in Qatar starts.
The ball auction comes amid a boom in sports memorabilia.
The jersey worn by Argentine great Maradona in that game against England at the World Cup in Mexico was sold in May for $9.3 million, at the time the highest price paid at auction for a sports memento. That was beaten by a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle baseball card, which fetched $12.6 million in New York in August.
A Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls jersey from Game 1 of the 1998 NBA Finals – the season featured in the ESPN and Netflix documentary “The Last Dance” – fetched $10.1 million last month, double what the auctioneers were waiting, to eclipse Maradona’s shirt for the match record. -worn memories.
“2022 has been an incredible year in the sports memorabilia market with records broken three times,” said auction house president Graham Budd. “It’s an exciting time in the market and we wonder if this famous football will also break records.”
The Maradona goal that gave Argentina a 1-0 quarter-final lead against England – but should never have been allowed – has become footballing legend.
Maradona jumped as if to head the ball but instead kicked it past goalkeeper Peter Shilton. The England players protested to Bin Nasser but the goal stood. Maradona later joked that he was branded “a bit with Maradona’s head and a bit with the hand of God”, leading to his iconic name.
Maradona used the same ball, the only one used in the quarter-finals, for his brilliant second goal four minutes later. He ran 68 yards from his own half and fought his way past half the England squad before slotting the ball past Shilton to make it 2-0. This goal was voted goal of the century in the World Cup in 2002.
Argentina won the match 2-1 and lifted the World Cup, and the tournament launched Maradona as one of the game’s greatest players. He died in 2020 at the age of 60.
“This ball is part of the history of international football,” Bin Nasser said in a statement. “Now is the right time to share it with the world.”
Bin Nasser will also auction off the referee’s shirt he wore for the quarter-finals, the auction house said, and another shirt that Maradona signed for his “eternal friend” at a meeting of years after the game.
The Mantle card seller was rewarded for a shrewd deal after buying it for $50,000 in 1991 and keeping it in pristine condition.
Bin Nasser is set to become a millionaire after one of the worst call-ups in World Cup history.