The used match ball from the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup final is to be auctioned this week hoping to fetch what is believed to be the largest-ever amount for a piece of women’s soccer memorabilia.
The ball was used in the final match between England and Spain in Sydney on August 20, a game won by the Spanish team on a single goal by Olga Carmoma in front of a crowd of 75,784 at Stadium Australia.
Aside from the fact that Spain won their first-ever Women’s World Cup – joining Germany as the only nation to win the men’s and women’s competitions – the match has now gone down in sporting history for the events which followed precipitated by the now infamous non-censual kiss of Jenni Hermoso by then Spanish FA President Luis Rubiales.
The Oceaunz Final ball was the prize in an adidas competiton and won by an Australian fan who has now put the ball up for sale through specialist English sport memorabilia auctioneers, Graham Budd.
This particular version of the gold-colored ball was only used during the final four matches of the first 64-game FIFA Women’s World Cup. According to adidas, the design “flashes earthy tones and shimmering shades of yellow and gold that reflect the beauty of Australia’s and New Zealand’s unique terrain.”
At the end of the final, the ball was last touched by Spanish goalkeeper Cata Coll who made a dramatic catch from a Chloe Kelly corner kick to repel England’s last attack in the fifteenth minute of stoppage time. Coll released the ball as she was submerged by a human avalanche of celebrating team-mates upon the final whistle.
Whether the ball on auction is the same one used at the end of the final is open to conjecture. Unlike in past World Cups, where the same ball was used throughout a game, now the so-called ‘multi-ball’ system is used where up to a dozen official balls are interchanged during the match to ensure play is not held up. Later this month, the FIFA Museum in Zürich will open its own exhibit dedicated to the 2023 Women’s World Cup. This will also feature an official match ball from the final.
Replicas of the Oceaunz Final retail for around $100 but for collectors of memorabilia, this official match ball comes with a certificate of authenticity stating that it was used in the 2023 Women’s World Cup final. The date, venue and scoreline of the match have also been inscribed on one of the panels in felt pen.
In similar circumstances six months ago, an anonymous adidas competition winner auctioned the used match ball from the 2022 men’s FIFA World Cup final – the epic encounter between Argentina and France in which Lionel Messi finally won the game’s greatest prize. That ball, also sold by Graham Budd Auctions, failed to meet the estimate of over $200,000 but nevertheless sold for $176,441.
The opening bid for the Women’s World Cup final ball is a mere $7500, more than 2000 times less, highlighting how nascent the women’s sport memorabilia market is in comparison.
Items from the 1999 Women’s World Cup final won by the United States at the Pasadena Rose Bowl in front of a then world record attendance of 90,185 are highly-sought after on online marketplace eBay. Two years ago, a used match ticket stub from the game sold for $168.34, a price comparable to similar men’s World Cup final tickets, and more than twice its original face value.
David Convery, head of sporting memorabilia at Graham Budd Auctions, believes that “this football is an intriguing, controversial and significant piece of recent football history for both Spain and England. The popularity of women’s football is skyrocketing and this is a great time to invest in memorabilia from the women’s game, the value of which will rise sharply in the next few years.”
The auction is open to online bidders until December 6.