There are certain situations in life where you cannot get away with stealing an extremely prestigious football medal.
And this undoubtedly includes when you are standing right next to the Russian president just after an explosive World Cup final.
However, shocked fans would have sworn on the bible they spotted a Fifa official doing just this and couldn’t believe what they were seeing…
— Armchair Sports (@armchairsports_) July 15, 2018
The presentation was in full swing, with Vladimir Putin in full meme mode as he managed to bag the one gigantic brolly on a apocolyptically wet day in Moscow.
Those receiving medals from both sides were soaked through to the skin, hair plastered to their faces as a comfortably dry Vlad lowered medals around their shivering necks.
On first watch, we were all preoccupied with who was receiving which medal and why. And – of course – the sight of French president Emmanuel Macron and Croatian president Kolinda Grabar looking like soggy cats next to Big Brolly Putin.
Therefore, many of us completely failed to notice the smartly dressed woman with short blonde hair whispering in Mr Putin’s ear. And then, as casual as you like, slipping a medal into her blazer pocket.
— King Penuel Mlotshwa (@penzoid) July 16, 2018
The woman can then be seen chuckling in the downpour, as if delighted her dastardly plan was all coming together. Surely she couldn’t be brazen?
The drama of the match forgotten, fans took to Twitter to try and figure out what was going on.
Some thought she was planning to eBay the treasure later, while some even speculated she was pinching the medal for President Putin himself as some sort of high end gift shop souvenir.
This may sound far fetched, but Putin was actually suspected of doing this with a $25,000 Super Bowl ring from the Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft back in 2005.
Speaking with Page Six after the incident, Kraft alleged:
I took out the ring and showed it to [Putin], and he put it on and he goes, ‘I can kill someone with this ring,’
I put my hand out and he put it in his pocket, and three KGB guys got around him and walked out.
This is classical Putin, stealing on the world stage.
— Gor Ogutu (@IAmOgutu) July 15, 2018
She must be punished for her theft.
— basele (@basele) July 15, 2018
She sh’d be put behind bars for this act.
— basele (@basele) July 15, 2018
Vladimir: Hey lady, Putin your pocket. pic.twitter.com/Mrij3LzjjH
— Sιмвα 4 RєαL ? (@SimsRko) July 16, 2018
And so – perhaps understandably – people were feeling a little paranoid about any potential mischief.
One person gasped:
Oh my goodness! Did that really happen? Damn Putin putting something away for keep.
How sick is that? A dignitary is stealing a WC gold medal in front of the players.
Oh my goodness! Did that really happen? Damn Putin putting something away for keep. Lol ?
— King Robert (@iamKingRobert) July 15, 2018
KLEPTOCRACY: In case you missed the World Cup medal ceremony today, you missed Putin instructing his subordinate to steal one of France’s winner medals.
How fitting after the indictments of 12 of his GRU subordinates for hacking & stealing DNC Analytics.pic.twitter.com/nhUQ6s6nZq
— ʀaмpaʀт (@imthemadridista) July 16, 2018
How sick is that????
A dignitary is stealing a WC gold medal in front of the players…and that too behind Putin and infantino backs? pic.twitter.com/qIRqvkkvfJ
— Umario Taal?? (@TaalUmario) July 16, 2018
Putin couldnt allow to host a world cup and not get a gold medal pic.twitter.com/pRAvic1oao
— B.U.S.O??? (@wyclif_henry) July 16, 2018
However, this was not the grand medal heist it first appeared to be, but more a case of a sensible Fifa assistant just doing her job.
The assistant had merely noticed France’s captain Hugo Lloris was the last team member to approach the stage, Metro reports.
This left them with more medals than were needed, and so she popped the spare into her pocket to keep it safe, perhaps not thinking how odd this action would look out of context.
Teams are generally allowed to give extra medals to individuals such as staff members or players who did not participate in the final 23-man squad but still contributed towards qualification.
Did the women behind Putin just pocket a medal?
— Fraser ?? (@Az0r_Ahai) July 15, 2018
Tell me that lady didn’t just sneak a medal into her pocket………. pic.twitter.com/Hlu6QhvkV2
— ? (@user4112) July 16, 2018
Was it just me or did the chick behind Putin stick a winners medal into her pocket for him?
— IcelandicfootballUK (@marcboal) July 15, 2018
So no medal nicking on this occasion as far as we know.
Well done France!
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.