European Football Championship 2024: Topps instead of Panini: What is changing in the sticker book and why Neuer and Kroos are missing

If individual brands symbolize a product, they are often used as synonyms in everyday language.

European Football Championship 2024: Topps instead of Panini: What is changing in the sticker book and why Neuer and Kroos are missing

If individual brands symbolize a product, they are often used as synonyms in everyday language. For decades, this also applied to the Italian company Panini, which was the buzzword, especially among young people, when it came to football stickers for major tournaments. The news that there is a change for the 2024 European Championship was all the more surprising. The most important questions about the stickers before the tournament in Germany (June 14th to July 14th).

Panini has produced the popular trading cards for every World Cup since 1970 and for every European Championship since 1980. It was therefore all the more surprising to hear in April 2022 that Topps had secured the rights for the two European Championships in 2024 and 2028. Marketing director Patrick Rausch called this "an absolute milestone" at the time. The US company once became known for its confectionery and later specialized in sports trading cards.

Collectors need a total of 728 different stickers to complete their album. In the past, packs were usually bought at kiosks, but today sales are mainly carried out via various online offers. A single pack of six stickers costs one euro. If you order 100 packs or specific packages at once, you save money. The first sticker in all packs is glittery.

No, the deal with Topps was only negotiated with UEFA. The world association FIFA is also relying on long-term partner Panini for the 2026 World Cup, the 2030 World Cup and the 2027 Women's World Cup, which has offered stickers from all men's World Cups since 1970. For fans and collectors for a better overview: 2024 Topps, 2026 Panini, 2028 Topps, 2030 Panini.

This is about image rights. "This is due to the tournament's previous sticker partner blocking certain portions of the collection to the detriment of fans," a Topps spokesperson said when contacted. Anyone looking for Manuel Neuer or Toni Kroos will not find what they are looking for in the new scrapbook. Instead, Oliver Kahn, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lothar Matthäus adorn the German double page as so-called legends.

"I know that there are Panini albums every year and I'm still there somewhere - as a legend, as well as in many computer games. So you still remain in the attention of the younger generation," Matthäus told the DPA. In addition to Neuer and Kroos, international stars such as France's Kylian Mbappé and England's Phil Foden are also missing. The DFB logo was replaced by a Germany flag, and rights are also missing here.

Topps was heavily criticized after the magazine was published. However, this was not only due to missing stickers, but also other errors. Italy's Leonardo Bonucci was still assigned to 1. FC Union Berlin, even though he moved to Fenerbahce in January. The fact that England's unknown second division professional Luke Thomas appeared in the magazine without any international matches drew ridicule. Because the magazine was published at the beginning of April, nations that failed in the playoffs, such as Luxembourg and Israel, are also included in the magazine.

While Panini focused on a few categories for the last World Cup (stadiums, teams, previous world champions), Topps has additional elements such as the "Star Player", the "Player to Watch" and group pages with sights of the individual nations. In Germany, the Brandenburg Gate and Neuschwanstein Castle are shown, among others. Compared to the Topps magazine (728), Panini had fewer pictures for the 2022 World Cup, namely 670. And that even though 32 nations qualified in Qatar instead of the current 24.

If you are only interested in the German team, Ferrero is the right place for you. The confectionery manufacturer has published a scrapbook about the DFB team in cooperation with “Kicker”. There are profile pictures, action pictures, team photos and pictures of the game locations. Especially among the younger generation, adhesive stickers have now often been replaced by so-called Match Attax cards, in which Topps is also a strong player.

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