DOHA, Qatar -- DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The future hosts of the World Cup in Qatar have decided a statue depicting one of the tournament's most talked-about moments is not worthy of public display.
Officials in Doha ordered the removal of a five-meter (16-foot) bronze statue of French footballer Zinedine Zidane's infamous headbutt of Italy's Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup.
So, cranes were brought in this week and on Thursday, the statue's site along Doha's waterfront was empty.
Officials have not commented on the reason for its removal, but the artwork had stirred complaints from Muslim conservatives saying it promoted idolatry. Others argued it's wrong to honor Zidane's unsportsmanlike act in striking Materazzi after an insult from the Italian.
The statue, created by Algerian-born French artist Adel Abdessemed, was unveiled in Doha in early October.
Earlier on HuffPost:
Before the 1966 World Cup in England, the <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/march/20/newsid_2861000/2861545.stm" target="_hplink">trophy was stolen</a> and missing for seven days. A dog found it wrapped in newspapers a week after it was stolen.
Only 13 teams played in the <a href="http://www.worldcup.isn.pl/en/cups/1930.htm" target="_hplink">first World Cup in 1930</a> in Uruaguay. Uruguay beat Argentina in the finals.
<a href="http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/organisation/media/newsid=1166692/index.html" target="_hplink">30 referees from 28 different countries</a> will be working the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
43,000 people is the average attendance of a single World Cup match.
There have been 49 (<a href="http://soccernet.espn.go.com/report?id=264039&cc=5901&ver=us" target="_hplink">Argenitina's Gonzolo Higuain</a> on June 17) hat tricks in World Cup History and only four players have recorded two: Hungary's Sandor Kocsis in 1954, France's Just Fontaine in 1958, West Germany's Gerd Muller in 1970 and Gabriel Batistuta who had one in 1994 and one in 1998.
There was no championship game in the 1950 World Cup. There was a <a href="http://soccernet.espn.go.com/world-cup/feature?id=696761&cc=5901&ver=us" target="_hplink">round-robin</a> between Brazil, Uruguay, Spain and Sweden. Uruguay won by defeating Brazil 2-1.
Brazil owns the record for <a href="http://www.iloubnan.info/sports/la-performance/id/32/titre/Brazil-in-the-FIFA-World-Cup-History" target="_hplink">most World Cup victories</a> with an astounding 65 (after beating Korea DPR on June 15).
Brazil and Germany are tied for the World Cup record of total matches played with 93.
The record for most goals scored at a single World Cup is <a href="http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/archive/edition=1013/index.html" target="_hplink">171</a> in the 1998 France World Cup.