World Cup fever is spreading and has hit Peru hard. There, many fans are taking up the side sport of sticker collecting.
CGTN’s Dan Collyns explains.
Collecting football cards has long been a passion for young fans of the sport but with the World Cup around the corner, the collectible stickers and albums take on a whole new meaning.
Especially in countries like Peru where taking part in the international tournament are a novelty and a huge focus of national pride.
For some fans like student Juan Carlos it’s a way to get a little extra income:
“Everything started with collecting stickers, then I filled the album and I realized there was a business in this”, Juan Carlos a football sticker seller said.
Players like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Peruvian striker Paolo Guerrero are the most sought-after, along with football legends like Pele and the national crests of the teams.
When they first came on sale, the albums, made by the Italian company Panini, sparked lines around the block and there was tension and anger when retailers ran out of stock.
The lucrative demand was not lost on fraudsters and police seized 20,000 fake albums worth some 350 thousand dollars last month.
“There is high demand for the books and unfortunately these criminal groups are abusing people’s good faith and trust not just domestically, but internationally as well.”, Segundo Mejia with the Peruvian police said.
While a packet of five cards sells for around 80 cents in the shops the price on the street can be higher and while most Peruvians weren’t born the last time the country played in the World Cup, football fever has turned the business into a bonanza.