A piece of the original World Cup trophy, which was stolen in Brazil in 1983 and never recovered, has been found in a basement at Fifa’s headquarters.
Part of the base of the Jules Rimet trophy, it is engraved with the names of the first four World Cup winners who were Uruguay in 1930 and 1950 and Italy in 1934 and 1938.
The trophy, which was handed to Brazil permanently after they won the World Cup for the third time in 1970, was also stolen three months before the 1966 World Cup was staged in England.
That time, it was recovered a week later after being found in a south London hedge by a dog named Pickles.
David Ausseil, the creative director of Fifa’s museum which is due to open in March next year, said the trophy had been given a new base in 1954.
“We think no Fifa president has seen it since Jules Rimet himself,” he told the BBC.
The 10 centimetre high octagonal relic will be displayed in the museum. Rimet, the “father” of the World Cup, was Fifa’s president from 1921 to 1954.
In the early 1970s, Fifa commissioned a new trophy for the 10th World Cup in West Germany in 1974.
Fifty-three designs were submitted to Fifa by experts from seven countries, with the final choice being the work of Italian artist Silvio Gazzaniga.
Unlike the previous trophy which was awarded to a country winning three World Cups, the current trophy remains in Fifa’s possession but a replica is awarded to the three-time winners instead.
The current base, made of two layers of semi-precious malachite, bears the engraved year and name of each World Cup winner since 1974.