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Original fakes

Fake football kits

This, the quote from a market stall salesman in propositioning passers-by at a tourist resort. It made me laugh.

As new seasons are upon us, the proliferation of fake strips and merchandise can be found around the World.  Even the attention to authentic labels and trade-marking are not preventing the creativity of would-be clothing manufacturers.  In Spain, a similar sales representative was a little more coy about unveiling the latest, fake, Barcelona kit for my 7 year old.  In Turkey, the Barcelona replicas were on full view on pre-prepared mannequins.  £10 for a shirt for the new season (and shorts thrown in, too). No doubt another factor in the demise of such as JJB Sports as publicised this week, reporting poor sales of replica football kits.

I recall a few years back the then Managing Director of adidas quoting that the copying of its footwear whilst illegal was of a particularly good standard.  I remember a visit to one such manufacturer in Izmir where a protocol somewhat resembling the keystone cops prevailed. Any investigation required 24 hours’ notice and this resulted in a mass relocation within that timeframe leaving the authorities empty handed.

In the whole of last season, a total of £1 Million of counterfeit Premier League goods were seized, mostly at ports with goods imported from Asia. The task of preventing counterfeit goods is a multi-agency operation, including Customs, Trading Standards and a consultancy called Back Four Ltd.

If fans feel short-changed, at pricing strategies, and yet another strip is perceived as profiteering, can we really be surprised that a less-official alternative might become attractive?  A challenge for clubs and retailers to ‘compete’ and add value.

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