‘Panini has created a monster’: fury over World Cup figures in Latin American countries
- Analia Llorente
- BBC News World
Rodrigo Condori is 10 years old and excited.
This little Argentinian football fanatic is looking forward to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which will start next November.
And meanwhile, collect figurines, engravings or stickers, FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Album by Paninia tradition that takes place every four years before the competition.
“All my classmates collect figurines and we change them at school,” he told BBC Mundo.
Rodrigo doesn’t know exactly how many decals he has, but he says there are more than 260. To fill this year’s album, 670 are needed.
The problem is that in Argentina it is difficult to find them. His father, Abraham, assures us that it is an almost impossible mission.
“We stood in line for three hours with a friend and bought 100 parcels. Now there are none left,” he adds.
The problem of shortages in Argentina led at the end of August to a demonstration in front of the offices of the official distributor Panini and to an exponential increase in the prices of figurines in alternative markets.
But this phenomenon of great interest in collectible cards is not exclusive to the South American country and the rise in prices has been detected in several countries in Latin America and outside the region.
How is the famous album?
The Panini Group, founded in 1961, based in Modena, Italy, is the maker of the World Cup album.
The company is a benchmark in the figurines market – mainly for children – in Europe and Latin America and has subsidiaries and official distributors in various parts of the world.
Since 1970manufactures the album where collectors can place the 49 x 65 mm sheets of the players of the 32 teams participating in the tournament, as well as stadiums, a trophy, a mascot and an official ball.
The sticker packs come with 5 shapes each to fill all 80 album pages.
BBC Mundo asked the company for figures to give a dimension of impact, but received no response.
“I’ve never seen anything like it”
The interest in completing the World Cup album is shared by several countries in the region, whether or not they have qualified for the FIFA championship.
“As Colombia didn’t qualify for the World Cup, so there’s not a lot of fever,” said Colombian BBC Mundo journalist Alejandro Millán.
Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Uruguay, Mexico and Costa Rica are the countries in the region that will play the World Cup in Qatar in 2022.
In Uruguayfor example, there is also a passion for collecting figurines, although they maintain that there is no shortage.
In some streets and fairs, mainly in Montevideo, improvised stalls are set up for the exchange of rubs, and during school holidays the subject captures all the attention.
There are even parents swapping stickers at work on behalf of their children and even a Uruguayan has created an app to facilitate sticker swapping.
In BrazilConsumer advocacy foundation Procon in the populous state of Sao Paulo last week asked local publisher Panini for information about the distribution of World Cup albums and figurines, after receiving 432 complaints about availability. some products.
Among other things, the company was consulted on the volume of equipment sold, its prices and its distribution deadlines, as well as on the responses it gave to complaints of faulty or late delivery.
Panini, who had until Friday September 9 to respond, told local Globo television that Brazil’s size poses logistical challenges and that to answer it, he had developed online sales or entered into agreements with retail companies.
But perhaps the most striking case is what happened in the Argentine capital.
“What’s going on in this world I haven’t seen neither in Russia, nor in Germany, nor in the United States,” Claudio Páez, owner of a kiosk in Almagro, a district of the city of Buenos Aires, told BBC Mundo.
He says customers are queuing up and figure packs and albums sell out within hours.
“They told me everything. People are nervous, desperate,” he says.
The manager of the kiosk believes that this great interest is due to the fact that “the Argentine team generates enthusiasm and there is hope”. So, being a city that is very passionate about football, seeing all that magic unfolded with Messi at 100 per cent, it blew everything up. “
But he recognizes thatit’s a phenomenon that we don’t understand because people don’t have enough to eatwe are living in a very bad economic situation”, he adds about the crisis that Argentina is going through with an annual inflation of 71% last July, the highest for 20 years.
This fever generated in the country by the figurines, added to the fact that they were sold not only in kiosks but also in supermarkets and gas stations, caused the products to sell out quickly.
The shortage and changes in outlets caused the Unión de Kiosqueros de la República Argentina (UKRA) to march to the offices of the country’s official Panini distributor in late August to protest.
“In this way, the living also gained, who are those who buy in quantity [y luego lo revenden]. A) Yes, Panini createof a monsterPaez said.
The suggested price of a pack of figurines in Argentina is 150 pesos (about US$1, at the official price), but, as there is a shortage, in the alternative market it is more than double or triple.
It may be that fury, scarcity and even protests are an almost unique feature of Argentina. But the inflationary phenomenon on collectible cards does not discriminate against the jersey of the football team.
In Colombiafor example, the envelope went from about 2,000 pesos (equivalent to about $0.45 today) to 3,500 Colombian pesos ($0.78) during the World Cup in Russia, reports the newspaper El Espectador.
In Brazil, each package is sold for 4 reais (about 0.78 USD), twice as much as four years ago. That would raise the cost to complete the album to 3,865 reais (about $737), or 1.5 times the country’s average monthly income, according to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, calculates Bloomberg.
In Mexico, the price of the figurines is 18 pesos (0.90 USD). This represents 50% more than the values of the World Russia 2018, while in Argentina the package of miniatures has seen an inflation of almost 1000% in just four years.
“I’m finishing it and it’s too expensive,” says Alejandro Millán, who lives in London.
In the UK, according to football finance expert Kieran Maguire, the official Qatar 2022 album could cost up to £883.80 (about $1,018) to complete.
The analyst, interviewed by the journalist from News BBC’s Manish Pandey says the price of a pack has risen from 20p many years ago to 90p now.
Why have the prices increased? Kieran explains that “Panini must pay a fee to FIFA”.
“And they have to negotiate with the individual football associations to get the rights to use the shirt and the crest. So it’s an expensive business for them,” he adds.
But he points out that it’s tradition that allows people to follow the hobby.
“There’s no better feeling than that final decal on that final gear, especially if it’s done before the tournament starts,” says the expert.
Meanwhile, from Argentina, Abraham Condori says that as a child, in his native Peru, he also collected figurines for the World Cup.
Now he is reliving the moment with Rodrigo and his other children, visiting the newsstands of Buenos Aires afternoon afternoon in a kind of treasure hunt.
“For a small number, people can go crazy”said.
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