Vandals steal arms off Pele’s statue

Sao Paulo, June 21:

Vandals sawed the arms off a statue of Pele, and police are scouring scrap metal yards and art workshops looking for them. A bronze replica of the World Cup trophy, which had been held above the statue’s head, was also missing, officials said.

“The destruction of a landmark like this is a condemnable act,” said Raimundo Nonato, the head of the Bahia state sports affairs department. “It is a tragedy and we are indignant.”

Police discovered the statue’s arms were missing on Saturday and believe they were taken on Friday night. The life-size statue, which stands outside the Fonte Nova stadium in Salvador, will be restored and moved inside the stadium. It was inaugurated in March 1971, shortly after Brazil won its third World Cup title in Mexico.