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FIFA finds original stone base of lost Jules Rimet trophy

Italy officials present the Jules Rimet Cup to their Brazilian counterparts before the World Cup begins in 1950. The base of the trophy was recovered by FIFA this week.

ZURICH -- A piece of the original World Cup trophy has been found and will be displayed in the new FIFA museum.

A staff member found the stone base of the Jules Rimet trophy last month in basement storage at FIFA headquarters, museum creative director David Ausseil said Tuesday.

"It's like finding an Egyptian mummy," Ausseil told The Associated Press. "You can't put a price tag on it because it's family jewels."

The base is a 10-centimeter tall, octagonal piece of blue semi-precious lapis lazuli stone, Ausseil said.

It carries the names of the first four World Cup winners: Uruguay and Italy each won twice between 1930 and 1950.

Ausseil said the trophy got a new base before the 1954 tournament, won by West Germany.

The gold statuette was permanently given to Brazil after winning their third title in 1970. It was stolen in 1983 and never recovered.

"We thought [the base] was lost in Brazil," Ausseil said. "We think no FIFA president has seen it since Jules Rimet himself."

The director spoke on the sidelines of a tour of the museum construction site in downtown Zurich. The World Football Museum, with exhibits on three floors, is scheduled to open in March 2016.

FIFA announced the museum in 2012 when the expected $200 million project was to be built underground at its headquarters on a hill overlooking the city.

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