Arsenal FC Coach, Arsène Wenger’s hopes of ending his Arsenal career with his hands on the Europa League trophy in Lyon, France almost suffered a setback when it reportedly went missing in León, Mexico.
The Guanajuato state prosecutor’s office confirmed on Twitter, that the Europa League trophy was reported stolen from a vehicle that was transporting it after an unspecified event in the city.
The state prosecutor’s office also tweeted a picture of the trophy in a cloth-lined case to confirm that it had been recovered by police but did not immediately 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.
“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 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. While Arsenal will face Athletico Madrid in one of semi finals of this year’s competition, Red Bull Salzburg will face Marseille in the other half of the draw.This year’s final takes place in Lyon’s home ground, the 59,000-capacity Groupama Stadium.