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1966: Football's World Cup stolen

VIDEO : Security chiefs bemused by World Cup theft

The football World Cup has been stolen while on exhibition at Central Hall in Westminster, London.

The 30,000 solid gold Jules Rimet trophy disappeared while a church service was taking place in another part of the building.

Thieves removed the cup from the "Sport with Stamps" display at the Stampex exhibition, but stamps worth 3m were left behind.

At least two guards were in the hall at the time of the theft. Alsa-Guard, the security firm at the exhibition, was not available for comment.

Delegates from current cup-holders Brazil left the cup in custody of the Federation of International Football Association (Fifa) last week.

The trophy was to be the centre-piece of the World Cup tournament being hosted by Britain later this year.

Vice-chairman of the Football Association Council, Jack Stewart, was reluctant to accept blame for the trophy's disappearance.

But he said: "We are responsible for it in the end because we are the organizing association."

Detectives and forensics experts are investigating the break-in and have appealed for anyone who was in Central Hall to contact Scotland Yard.

Police say a suspicious-looking man was seen in the building at the time of the theft. He is described as being in his early 30s, of average height with thin lips, greased black hair and a possible scar on his face.

The Jules Rimet trophy is named after a French lawyer who was a president of FIFA and initiated the World Cup competition in 1929.

Brazil have been holders of the Cup for the last eight years, after winning both the 1958 and 1962 competitions.

In Context
Several days of anxiety and frustration followed the Cup's theft.

Brazil said it was a sacrilege that would never have been committed in Brazil where even its thieves loved football too much.

But the trophy was eventually found by Pickles, a mongrel dog, out for a walk with his owner, on 27 March in south London.

Later that year it was England who won the World Cup, but in 1970 Brazil was allowed to keep the trophy for ever, after winning the competition for the third time.

The replacement trophy remains the prize for the World Cup to this day.

The Jules Rimet cup was stolen again in 1983 - in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It has never been recovered.


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