17 Jun Fake Sporting Goods Intercepted Ahead of 2014 World Cup
Thousands of counterfeit sporting goods were intercepted during an international enforcement operation in the run up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, with the active participation of customs administrations from seven Latin American countries.
Coordinated by the World Customs Organization (WCO), the operation was supported by the European Union (EU), the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), and the Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry (FESI) and the Federation of the Brazilian Sporting Goods Industry (MOVE).
Code-named ‘Gol 14’, the one week operation, which took place at the end of March 2014, resulted in about 750,000 counterfeit items being intercepted, among which more than 520,000 items were related to the sporting goods industry, including clothing, sportswear and sports accessories.
As original jerseys and footwear for the World Cup are being manufactured by producers in Brazil and its neighbours, creating employment and uplifting local economies; the trade in counterfeit goods, however, produces no real benefits for a local economy, but does impose considerable costs on workers and the community.
For Brazil, the fight against counterfeiting is considered an essential part of the country’s drive to protect its consumers. In addition, counterfeit goods are increasingly seen as a threat to legitimate Brazilian businesses and endangers the country’s path towards a more knowledge-based economy.
The protection of trademarks and other intellectual property rights (IPR) is also crucial for the EU, whose companies have invested heavily in research, design and marketing of their products – Brazil and the EU have a regular dialogue on IPR, and have vowed to step up their cooperation in this field.
Prior to the operation, customs officers were trained in risk analysis techniques and to recognize the technical characteristics of products likely to be counterfeited. The training was provided by WCO experts and supported by officials from the sporting goods industry, FIFA, the European Union, as well as the Brazilian authorities.