More than 520,000 items were related to the sporting goods industry

More than 520,000 items were related to the sporting goods industry

Thousands of counterfeit sporting goods have been intercepted during an international enforcement operation in the run up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Coordinated by the World Customs Organization (WCO) and with the participation of customs administrations from seven Latin American countries, the operation resulted in around 750,000 counterfeit items being intercepted. Of these, more than 520,000 items were related to the sporting goods industry.

"It might seem harmless to buy a knock-off item; after all, the originals are out of reach for most who are longing for a real designer label or souvenir, but there is a more sinister side of this illegal industry, with counterfeiting being far more harmful than it appears," the WCO said.

"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."

Code-named ‘Gol 14’, the one week operation took place at the end of March.