Panini stickers
A Columbian teacher has been accused of stealing a pupil's Panini stickers to complete his own World Cup album.Getty

A Colombian teacher may have ruined a pupil's World Cup before a ball has even been kicked after reportedly stealing their Panini football stickers.

In what must be every football-mad schoolboy's worst nightmare, local reports claim the heartless teacher stole the stickers so he could complete his own album.

Colombian newspaper El Espectador said a 13-year-old pupil in the city of Bucaramanga, central Colombia, reported the teacher after seeing him in the staffroom putting stickers he had allegedly confiscated from students who had been swapping them in class in a World Cup 2014 album.

"It's no way to give an example to young ones, taking their stickers away for your own benefit," a student's mother told local RCN radio.

According to Reuters, there has not yet been a formal complaint but the city's education authority was investigating the incident.

"According to the pupil, the teacher was confiscating various pupils' stickers arguing that a commercial market was being created that was distracting students from their academic work in the institution," El Espectador reported.

Cult phenomenon

Football fans around the world have collected and swapped Panini football stickers ever since the Italian company started printing the cards in before the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.

Adults and children alike compete to fill glossy albums of the head-shot stickers of team's squads. Such is the demand for the cards that Panini last month moved to allay fears of a shortage of packets in host city Rio de Janeiro.

Although Panini does not disclose sales projections, executives say this year's World Cup will set records for the company.

Before the 2010 South Africa World Cup, thieves broke into a distribution centre in Sao Paulo and stole 135,000 packets of stickers. They were later found.