UK law enforcement and clubs unite for Football Against Fakes

Enforcement officials and Premier League clubs have come together to highlight the issue of counterfeiting in the UK football industry.

Officers from the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) attended the event at the Emirates Stadium in London today.

The aim is to help clubs develop key working relationships and knowledge sharing to help protect their brands.

Over the course of the 2015/16 season, the Premier League alone seized almost 100,000 counterfeit items worth more than £1m ($1.3m), taking the total value of items recovered past the £10m mark since the scheme began in 2007. This figure does not consider clubs' own seizures and those of kit manufacturers.

Throughout the day Premier League clubs exhibited their official merchandise to demonstrate the difference with fake goods and enable them to develop key working relationships with the authorities who help protect their brands.

Detective Chief Inspector Peter Ratcliff, head of PIPCU, said: "Our analysis shows that sportswear products and accessories remain the most counterfeited products sold online. This demonstrates not only the huge consumer appetite for sportswear but also the importance of our solid partnership with the football industry in identifying and disrupting fake websites.

"So far we have overseen more than 13,500 takedowns of counterfeit websites and prevented thousands of consumers from becoming victims duped into handing over their personal and payment details to criminals who often commit further crime through identity theft."

PIPCU forges ties with IACC

Meanwhile, the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the City of London Police, which operes PIPCU with funding from the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

The signing comes on the heels of similar engagements with Europol and the Guardia di Finanzia, "further affirming the IACC's commitment to the protection of intellectual property in the EU and the UK.

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