The Europa League trophy was stolen after being displayed at a publicity event in Mexico, only to be recovered a few hours later, authorities in the state of Guanajuato said on Saturday.
The trophy had been on display at the football stadium in the city of Leon on Friday night, only to be taken from a car after the event.
Authorities in Mexico say the Europa League trophy has been recovered after it was briefly stolen in the central city of Leon.
“We recovered the Cup after receiving information that it had been stolen from the car transporting it,” said a post on the Twitter account of the Guanajuato public prosecutor, alongside a picture of the trophy in a case.
No other information was given about who took the trophy, where it was found or whether any perpetrators had been identified.
The office posted a photo of the silver cup nestled in a cloth-lined case;
#PGJEInforma Que a través de elementos de la @AIC_Guanajuato es recuperada la copa @EuropaLeague tras recibir la denuncia que había sido robada del vehículo que la trasladaba posterior a un evento en @municipio_leon. pic.twitter.com/TF8sKjVRAe
— PGJE (@PGJEGUANAJUATO) April 20, 2018
The state prosecutor’s did not provide more details. UEFA’s official website claims that the trophy “remains in Uefa’s keeping at all times,” with clubs receiving a replica – but initial reports, and the frantic search to recover it, suggest it was the original that went missing.
The incident drew parallels with the famous theft of the World Cup trophy in central London in March 1966. The Jules Rimet trophy was taken from a stamp exhibition in Westminster, and later found under a hedge in south London by Pickles, a collie who became part of football folklore.
Providing the trophy returns from Mexico in one piece, it will be handed to the Europa League winners after the final in Lyon on 16 May. If Arsenal make it past Atlético Madrid in the semi-finals, the final against either Marseille or Salzburg will be Wenger’s last game in charge after 22 years.