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Caught in the fake net

World Cup soccer merchandise is thriving with innumerable imitations of official products, writes Sonal Srivastava.

india Updated: Jun 19, 2006 14:26 IST

As the football fever rises, the market for the World Cup related merchandise is getting hotter by the day. From T-shirts to numbered jerseys of the football players, from shoes to caps, there is nothing that is not available. But not all of it is authentic. As expected, people are minting money out of fakes which look as good as those authorised by the FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association).

Thriving counterfeits

Palika Bazaar, right in the heart of the city, is deluded with fake football merchandise, and so are Janpath, Sarojini Nagar and other shopping stops in the city. And some of the products are in deed, of high quality.

Ajay, a vendor at Palika, says, “Most of it is exported from Bangladesh. We sell about 20 to 30 T-shirts every day. And you won’t get original stuff anywhere at Palika.” So, a fake ‘official’ T shirt costs Rs 200 which the vendors pick for Rs 80 from the ex port surplus market.

Similarly, a fake jersey costs about Rs 500 (On the other hand, a jersey by the official sponsor, Adidas, costs Rs 2,700. In fact, the Adidas merchandise is priced at Rs 650 upwards).
 
In the fake market, you can pick up the jersey of any team and the Brazilian jersey is the most popular with that of Beckham a close second. Even the jerseys of famous football clubs like Liverpool and Juventus are available with the fake stockers.

To suppress any kind of doubt, the tags on the tees too are in German. Wristbands are also available, priced at Rs 30.

Popular profits

With the soccer mania riding high, the shop owners are making a neat profit by selling these fakes.

In fact, vendors are ready to bargain and it all depends on how many pieces you buy. These fake jerseys are really popu lar among kids who like to flaunt the colours of their favourite team.

“Some of the kids spend there entire month’s pocket money to buy their favourite jerseys,” says a fake seller. The price at which these fakes are available is a big reason be hind their popularity.

The legal option

The official sponsors do have the legal option if they wish to clamp down on the fake business. “They can issue a legal demand notice to the defaulters and claim damages for the losses.

If booked under IPC for counterfeiting, the jail sentence is about seven years,” says Rana Ranjit Singh, a city-based advocate. But, often the fake mongers are ignored by official sponsors losing out on revenue. Says Swaraj Rai, store manager for Adidas showroom in CP, “The market will always have fake stuff.

We can’t do much about them.” Though the fake market in Delhi runs in lakhs and most of it is disorganised, livelihood of many people depends on it.

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