Customs officials in China impounded lots of export-bound football items ahead of the 2018 World Cup, state media reports.
According to China Daily, the football items were confirmed to be counterfeits making way out of the country from ports located in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and others.
Among the seized fake products are soccer balls, jerseys and shirts found to have infringed upon intellectual property rights of the global football body FIFA (the International Federation of Association Football).
China Morning Post confirmed the fake products are over 130, 000, adding that Chinese authorities conducted over a dozen raids on companies and warehouses in Yiwu city, a business hub in Zhejian.
Authorities Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, said a total of fake 4,370 Malaysia-bound sporting goods from different brands (Nike, Adidas, Puma etc) were seized. These include 4,500 jerseys with FIFA World Cup Russia and Adidas logos on them. The items were hidden under 30,000 plain black unlabeled jerseys.
Another Tanzania-bound container had soccer balls with fake FIFA logos on them and football jerseys with Adidas and Nike symbols.
Some Chinese manufacturers, in connection with dubious traders, allegedly make millions from such illegal businesses. The ongoing FIFA World Cup in Russia also creates a huge opportunity for massive sales to soccer fans around the world.
However, such fights against piracy and theft of intellectual property rights are not uncommon during World Cup games. Campaigns against fake merchandise started some months before the 14 July kick-off. In April, Chinese authorities seized thousands of Russia 2018 soccer balls manufactured in Nanjing before they were loaded for exports to Columbia via Shanghai, according to a report from SMCP.
UK’s Daily Mail in 2014 reported the seizure of 1,020 unauthorized replicas of the FIFA World Cup trophy in Yiwu.