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Arsenal can lay down a marker

Arsenal
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By ESPN Staff

German turns World Cup rubbish into gold

BERLIN -- Interior decorator Matthias Blume says he has received a winning bid of 11,250 euros ($13,300) for a scrap of paper labelled 'Germany' which was found in a rubbish bag after being used in the World Cup draw.

German Blume, who found name tags for all 32 teams while cleaning up after the televised draw in Leipzig on Dec. 9, launched registered bidding on the internet a week ago and said on Monday that a compatriot named Ralf had won the 'Germany' auction.

"It's super," Blume told Reuters. "I'm going to go out and buy a new skateboard now. My last one got stolen in the summer."

Germany will host the World Cup in June and July.

The 31-year-old Blume, who lives in Magdeburg, said the bidding for the other 31 slips of paper would continue for the next few weeks.

"Some 15,000 people have clicked on to look at the 'England' bidding and the price is now at 1,750 pounds ($3,014)," he said.

Two further slips of paper will be offered each day, with 'England' and 'Australia' next in the auction on Tuesday.

Soccer's governing body FIFA has challenged Blume's attempts to capitalize on the name tags.

"FIFA has sent a warning to the legal representatives of the person concerned and pointed out that this is a violation of FIFA's name rights and that the auction should be stopped," spokesman Andreas Herren said last week.

"If that doesn't happen, we will have to look at further legal steps."

But Blume said he had not heard from FIFA for more than a week.

He has hired a lawyer, who says that Blume is now the owner of the slips of paper.