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Row over shortage of Panini World Cup stickers forces government intervention in Argentina

Dispute over World Cup trading card shortage forces government intervention in Argentina as collectors fret over lack of stickers, prompting demand for Messi’s copy to reach £450

  • The popularity of World Cup stickers in Argentina has skyrocketed ahead of the tournament
  • Collectors have been queuing outside local kiosks, desperate to buy packs
  • But small suppliers have struggled to access them amid high demand
  • The Argentine government has held a meeting between the parties to find a solution
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World Cup sticker collectors have been left fuming in Argentina over a perceived shortage of trading cards in the country, prompting government intervention.

With the football tournament less than two months away, collecting stickers for the competition is in high demand across the globe as fans desperately search for their favorite players as well as wanting to complete a full album.

But passion for the collection has reached a fever pitch in Argentina, where high demand for the stickers has led to the government having to mediate between kiosks and the collection’s manufacturer Panini over a perceived shortage.

Newsagents have hit out at Panini, accusing them of taking advantage of other sales areas including supermarkets, petrol stations and even online at their expense, leaving them unable to order new packs for sale.

This has led to local suppliers selling out of their supply of the hugely popular collection within hours and having to deal with angry customers who are reeling from a lack of available packs.

Some shop owners have even reported that angry fans have ‘tried to smash their kiosks’ in utter frustration at not being able to buy stickers.

The packs contain five unknown stickers, with each of the 32 countries having 20 stickers, mostly featuring players, to produce an album of nearly 700 stickers in total. In the UK, packs sell for around 90p each.

There has been a huge demand for the 2022 World Cup stickers this year in Argentina
There has been a huge demand for the 2022 World Cup stickers this year in Argentina

There has been a huge demand for the 2022 World Cup stickers this year in Argentina

But collectors have become frustrated by the apparent lack of trading cards for sale
But collectors have become frustrated by the apparent lack of trading cards for sale

But collectors have become frustrated by the apparent lack of trading cards for sale

Such is the extent of the problem, the Argentine Ministry of Commerce has shown on its Twitter account an attempt to solve the sticker crisis by getting representation from suppliers and Panini’s Argentina group to solve the problem.

They issued a statement which read: ‘The meeting began to assess the situation in the WC figures market. From @ComercioArg we are opening a dialogue channel between @ukraok and @PaniniArg, making our legal and technical teams available to collaborate in the search for possible solutions.

Sportsmail has contacted Panini for comment.

People line up to buy stickers at a kiosk that has just received new stock in Argentina
People line up to buy stickers at a kiosk that has just received new stock in Argentina

People line up to buy stickers at a kiosk that has just received new stock in Argentina

A sign with Panini collection stickers related to the Qatar 2022 World Cup hangs in a store.  The sign is in Spanish "Buy what you need, a la cart
A sign with Panini collection stickers related to the Qatar 2022 World Cup hangs in a store.  The sign is in Spanish "Buy what you need, a la cart

A sign with Panini collection stickers related to the Qatar 2022 World Cup hangs in a store. The sign reads in Spanish “Buy what you need, a la cart

There have been huge queues in Argentina, showing a visual demand for the beloved trading cards, probably fueled by the fact that this is likely to be Lionel Messi’s last World Cup, as well as a surge in support for the national team following their recent Copa America success.

Hopes in Argentina to see their team win the World Cup for the first time since Diego Maradona lifted the trophy in 1986 have therefore risen.

A team’s stickers are likely to increase in value if they go all the way in Qatar later this year.

Lionel Messi's son Mateo beams a delighted smile after receiving his father's sticker
Lionel Messi's son Mateo beams a delighted smile after receiving his father's sticker

Lionel Messi’s son Mateo beams a delighted smile after receiving his father’s sticker

Many desperate collectors have turned to the black market to try and access the stickers they need, with South American versions of the Lionel Messi sticker hitting claims of up to £450 on auction site Ebay.

One collector who doesn’t have to pay a premium for Messi’s sticker, however, is his son, Mateo.

Messi’s wife Antonela Roccuzzo shared a photo on social media of their son proudly holding up the photo of his father wearing the Argentina replica shirt ready to be inserted into the sticker album.

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