World Cup final ball sells for 2.4 million dollars

DOHA, Nov 7, 2006 (AFP) – The ball used in this year’s World Cup final between Italy and France has sold at auction for a staggering 2.4 million dollars. Signed by the Italian team which beat France on penalties, it was snapped up by Qatar’s emir-in-waiting Sheikh Mohamed bin Hamad al-Thani, who will display it at the ASPIRE Academy here during the Asian Games next month, the Asiad website said.

“I was at the World Cup final myself so it has sentimental value for me. I have supported Italy since I was young,” he was quoted as saying by local media.

The ball was donated by Asian Football Confederation president Mohammed bin Hammam, who is himself a Qatari.

The money will be donated to the Reach Out To Asia charity initiative which raises funds for the disadvantaged and underprivileged across the region.

It was founded by Sheikh Mohamed bin Hamad al-Thani.

Guests at the celebrity charity function in Doha over the weekend included former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, Australian singer Natalie Imbruglia, fashion icon Pierre Cardin and supermodel Adriana Karembeu.

Qatar has spent 2.8 billion dollars preparing for the Asian Games wh