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Football autographed by Messi, India’s World Cup ball on auction

entertainment Updated: Jan 28, 2012 19:03 IST
Roshmila Bhattacharya
Roshmila Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times
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In March, The Foundation, the NGO founded by Rahul Bose, will be back with Equation 2012 — An Auction for Equality. Flagged off in October 2010, it is an auction of iconic sports memorabilia, and the only one in the world that brings items from across different sports under the hammer.

At the inaugural auction, Abhinav Bindra’s Olympic gold-winning gun went for Rs 20 lakh and Sachin Tendulkar’s bat for Rs 42 lakh. The proceeds were used to set up the first non-profit organisation in Kashmir that adopted and created educational opportunities for 12 children there.

This year, along with raising funds for The Foundation, Rahul is also going to donate money to NGOs in Sikkim to help fund footballer Baichung Bhutia’s dream of an astro-turf.

“We work towards removal of discrimination through education, so we can’t directly join hands with Baichung, a friend and previous donor. But an NGO that works for education and upliftment can do so,” says Rahul, who played a charity football match in Sikkim this week.

“At the press conference on Friday to announce the auction, we will pay a special tribute to Baichung. He’s donated four prized memorabilia, including jerseys autographed by international footballers that will be part of our grand finale. All the money from this special package goes to Sikkim. This is our way of telling the world that the place is open for business and pleasure after last year’s earthquake.”

Besides Milkha Singh’s shoes, in which he ran the 400-metres race in the 1960 Rome Olympics, just missing out on a bronze, also up for bidding will be Formula 1 racer Sebastian Vettel’s signed fireproof vest that he was wearing when he won the World Championship and a ball autographed by footballer Lionel Messi.

“There’s also the match ball autographed by MS Dhoni and Kumar Sangakkara, from the 2011 World Cup final that India won,” reveals Rahul.