Fans of Premier League football clubs are being warned to be vigilant about counterfeit goods being sold online and on the streets in their clubs' names. They are not only of inferior quality, but could well be contributing to other serious organised crime.
Instead, fans should buy only from their club (on their website or in the club store) … or from an authorised retailer.
According to the Premier League and National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), 158,000 fake items worth £2.6million were seized last year, with shirts topping the league table. Typically, the shirts are sold for less than half of their normal market value, but on inspection are often found to be inferior quality products. Other counterfeit football club goods being sold on a growing number websites as well as stalls and in shops, include mobile phone cases, scarves and badges.
The NFIB say that the proceeds of this counterfeiting activity are being used by organised crime groups to fund other, more sinister parts of their operations including arms, drugs and human trafficking.
John Unsworth, Head of Intelligence at the NFIB, said: “Buying a counterfeit shirt for yourself or your kids will save you a few quid in the short term, but the reality is you are likely to be buying a poor product that will quickly start to show signs of wear. At the same time you could be putting money straight into the pockets of organised crime and helping fund their wider operations”.
He continued: “If you want to show your support for your team in what you wear or carry it is important to buy from authorised retailers, both when shopping on the street or online, and stay well away from the stalls and websites pushing fake football related goods.”
The Premier League said: “We don’t want to see Premier League club fans being ripped off by paying for counterfeit goods that are poor in quality. If fans have any doubts about whether a retailer is selling official merchandise please email the Premier League at [email protected]” You can also report fake goods to the Premier League online here.
If you know of people selling counterfeit goods please contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. If you have fallen victim to counterfeiters please contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. In addition consumers can report counterfeiting via the Anti Counterfeiting Group and the consumer website Brand-i, an independent shopping directory of retailers selling genuine items.