The row over the shortage of World Cup trading cards is forcing the government in Argentina to step in as collectors are furious at the lack of stickers, which has led to demand for Messi’s copy reaching £450
- The popularity of World Cup stickers in Argentina has skyrocketed in the run-up to the tournament
- Collectors have lined up outside local kiosks desperate to buy packs
- But small providers are struggling to access them due to high demand
- The Argentine government has held a meeting between the parties to find a solution
World Cup sticker collectors in Argentina are furious 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 world as fans are desperate to find their favorite players and complete a full album.
But passion for the collection has reached a fever pitch in Argentina, where a huge demand for the stickers has meant the government has had to mediate over a perceived shortage between newsstands and the collection’s producer, Panini.
Newsstands have attacked Panini, accusing them of profiting from other outlets such as supermarkets, petrol stations and even online at their expense, so they could not order new packs for sale.
This has resulted in local suppliers selling out their stocks of the hugely popular collection in a matter of hours and dealing with disgruntled customers angry at a shortage of available packs.
Some shopkeepers have even reported that angry fans “tried to smash their kiosks” out of utter frustration at not being able to buy stickers.
The packs contain five unknown stickers, each of the 32 countries has 20 stickers, mainly with players to produce an album with a total of almost 700 stickers. In the UK packs are sold for around 90p each.
In Argentina this year there was a great demand for the stickers for the 2022 World Cup
But collectors were frustrated by the apparent lack of trading cards on offer
The scale of the problem is such that the Argentine Ministry of Commerce has shown on its Twitter account an attempt to resolve the sticker crisis by seeking representation from sellers and Panini’s Argentine group to resolve the issue.
They released a statement that read: “The meeting began to assess the situation of the WM figurine market. From @ComercioArg we open a dialogue channel between @ukraok and @PaniniArg and make our legal and technical teams available to work together to find possible solutions.
Sportsmail has reached out to Panini for comment.
People queue up to buy stickers at a kiosk that just received new stock in Argentina
A sign with stickers from the Panini collection related to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar hangs in a shop. The sign reads in Spanish ‘Buy what you need a la carte
There were huge queues in Argentina, showing a visible demand for the prized trading cards, likely boosted by what is likely Lionel Messi’s last World Cup, as well as a surge in support for the national team following their recent Copa America success.
Argentina’s hopes of seeing their side lift the trophy for the first time since Diego Maradona in 1986 have therefore risen.
A team’s stickers will likely 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
Many desperate collectors have turned to the black market to try and get access to the stickers they need, and South American versions of the Lionel Messi sticker have fetched claims of up to £450 on auction site Ebay.
One collector who doesn’t have to pay a premium for Messi’s stickers is his son Mateo.
Messi’s wife Antonela Roccuzzo shared on social media a picture of their son proudly holding up the picture of his father wearing the Argentina replica jersey ready to be put in the sticker album.