TRADING STANDARDS GIVE RED CARD TO FAKE WORLD CUP MERCHANDISE
A surprise counter-attack by the Royal Borough’s Trading Standards team has resulted in a major haul of fake England football shirts.
Trading Standards Officers working in partnership with The Football Association, Umbro, Dorset Trading Standards and a local legitimate memorabilia company, Spirit of Sport, have intercepted a consignment and stopped nearly 200 signed fake shirts from hitting the market place.
The shirts, with a street value of £20,000, contain the prized signatures of 9 of the original 1966 World Cup winning England team - Alan Ball, Gordon Banks, Jack Charlton, George Cohen, Roger Hunt, Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters, Nobby Stiles and Ray Wilson.
The signatures are genuine, but unfortunately the veteran players unwittingly signed fake shirts
Steve Johnson, trading standards manager, said: "This is certainly one–nil to the authorities and sends a strong message to those involved in dealing in counterfeit goods that we will rigorously enforce the law, especially in this important run up to the world cup. Legitimate traders can be assured of a level playing field."
Nick Langhorne, solicitor for The FA, said: "The FA appreciates the efforts of Trading Standards to assist us in protecting our brand. In the build up to the World Cup The FA and its exclusive kit licensee, Umbro, are devoting substantial resources to prevent this type of activity. This is vital given the support that The FA gets from our sponsors and other commercial partners with whom we work and, more importantly, our fans who support the team and the game by buying official merchandise. The FA is a not for profit organisation and any surplus made from the sale of official England merchandise is invested back into the game. We clearly want to ensure that this continues to be the case and that others are not unlawfully profiting from the England brand."
Mark Woodhead, managing director of Spirit of Sport, said: "We are grateful to Trading Standards for their sensitive handling and co-operation in this matter. The signed memorabilia industry needs to protect its respected and legitimate image and we are proud to work with the authorities to stamp out second rate fakes."
The fake shirts have been authorised for destruction and investigations against the original source, based in Dorset, are continuing.