One of the most controversial moments in sporting history will go under the hammer in November.
The ball used in the infamous ‘Hand of God’ game between Argentina and England at World Cup 1986 has been put up for auction by Ali Bin Nasser, the Tunisian who refereed the fateful game in Mexico City.
The bidding will take place via Graham Budd Auctions, and anybody can get involved in the open auction – unfortunately, you’ll need deep pockets as the ball is expected to fetch a price of between £2.5-£3 million once the bids start coming in on November 16.
The World Cup quarter final between England and Argentina is still considered to be one of the most iconic games in football history to this day. Maradona took centre stage, scoring an outstanding solo goal that is regarded as one of the finest of all time, having opened the scoring with the famous ‘Hand of God’ goal in which he leapt and punched the ball into the back of the net.
Argentina went on to win the World Cup in 1986, and Maradona has thanked Bin Nasser for not seeing his handball for the opening goal. The pair would meet again in later years, with the Argentine signing a shirt for the referee with the inscription ‘para Ali mi amigo eternal’, which translates as ‘for Ali, my friend forever’.
That shirt, as well as Bin Nasser’s own jersey that he wore during the game, will also form part of the auction lot alongside the famous ball.
When quizzed as to why he has decided to auction off one of the most famous items of sporting history, the Tunisian said:
“This ball is part of international football history – it feels like the right time to be sharing it with the world.”
What are the Most Expensive Items of Football Memorabilia?
If it sells for the £3 million estimate, the Hand of God ball will become one of the most expensive auctions items in football history.
But that is mere loose change when compared to the £7.1 million that was paid for the shirt worn by Maradona on that fateful day.
That ensured the sale, which came about after England midfielder Steve Hodge finally agreed to put up the shirt he swapped with Maradona after the game up for auction, broke not one but two Guinness world records: firstly as the most expensive football shirt ever sold at auction, and also as the most expensive piece of sports memorabilia ever sold.
Apart from those two 2022 sales, the previous highest price paid for an item of football memorabilia was the £1.1 million forked out for the original ‘Sheffield Football Club Rules, Regulations & Laws’, a document written in 1859 that introduced many of the rules we know in football today for the first time.
And Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour caused uproar in 2021 when he purchased the original FA Cup trophy, paying £760,000 for the privilege. Happily, he has agreed to loan the silverware to the National Football Museum.