Missing the Mark: A Dive into the Euro 2024 Sticker Album Controversy

The approaching Euro 2024 has sparked not only excitement on the football pitches but also contention between UEFA’s official sticker album produced by Topps and Panini’s version. The clash between these two sticker giants is heating up, leaving collectors torn between which album to invest their time and money in.

Topps, now owned by the U.S.-based sports retailer Fanatics, replaced Panini as the sticker rights holder for Euro 2024 and future tournaments, marking the end of Panini’s long-standing dominance in producing football sticker albums. Panini, an Italian company, had a stronghold on this market with its presence in every Euro sticker album from 1977 to 2020 and the FIFA World Cup since 1970.

One of the key points of contention is the absence of some of the biggest stars in European football from Topps’ album. Players like Kylian Mbappé and Manuel Neuer are notably missing, raising questions about the selection process for these stickers. Moreover, licensing agreements have prevented powerhouse teams such as Italy, England, France, and Germany from appearing in their official kits in the Topps album, leaving collectors craving authenticity.

The difference in approach between the two albums is evident in the inclusion of players who were not part of their national squads. While Panini’s version features top teams with all the star players donning their official kits, Topps’ album includes players who were not selected for the tournament, causing confusion among collectors and raising doubts about the authenticity of the collection.

The cost of completing both albums has been estimated to be around $1,200, a hefty sum for many collectors, especially in the face of economic challenges. With inflation rates at their highest in 40 years, the exorbitant cost of collecting every sticker becomes a luxury that few can afford. This financial strain adds another layer of complexity to the sticker album conundrum.

For many collectors, the sticker album experience is steeped in nostalgia, harking back to a time when completing an album was a rite of passage ahead of major tournaments. The emergence of competing companies like Topps and Panini adds a new dynamic to this tradition, with collectors facing dilemmas and tough choices on which album to invest in.

The Euro 2024 sticker album controversy shines a light on the changing landscape of football memorabilia collecting. With fierce competition for licensing rights and escalating costs, collectors are left grappling with these new challenges. As the tournament approaches, the battle between Topps and Panini rages on, leaving collectors to navigate a new era in the world of football sticker albums.


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