Stormers fans urged to fight crime

PUBLISHED: May 5, 2008

The Stormers have over the past 11 years built a strong brand and have through the support of loyal and passionate fans, been one of the leaders in sports business in South Africa.

Merchandising is one part of the rugby business that has grown significantly over the past decade. Taking a cue from international sporting brands, the Stormers were one of the first teams in South Africa to maximize the advantages of the merchandising business.

However, with the growth of the merchandising business, the growth of counterfeit merchandise has also exploded in South Africa, across all sporting brands, including rugby, soccer and cricket.

Selling or buying counterfeit is a crime and Stormers supporters are urged to help fight crime by not purchasing counterfeit merchandise.

What is counterfeit? Counterfeit goods are fake products which are unlicensed, and not official or genuine products. To ‘counterfeit’ is to ‘make an imitation of something with intent to deceive’ (Oxford dictionary). Therefore, manufacturers of counterfeit are deceiving us all by selling fake goods to fans.

Why is buying fake goods a problem? Only certain manufacturers have been given a license to make rugby jerseys, shirts, hats, flags and other supporters’ products. These manufacturers pay a fee to Western Province/Stormers and the other Unions for the right to use their logos. This is important income for the unions, and contributes to the growth of the Union and the improvement of facilities and services to the players and fans alike. Buying counterfeit products results in a loss of revenue for rugby.

Counterfeiting is a world wide phenomenon, and not a unique South African problem. The value of the counterfeit sports merchandise market in South Africa is difficult to ascertain. Conservative estimates are that at least 25% of the retail sales of sports licensed product is lost due to the sale of counterfeit.

Western Province/Stormers and all the major rugby unions including SA Rugby, are part of an ongoing rugby anti-counterfeiting programme. The purpose of the programme is to gather intelligence on the manufacturing and distribution sources of counterfeit merchandise, to monitor and confiscate counterfeit merchandise, to prosecute suspects, and to increase the level of public awareness of the problem. The programme involves cooperation between a number of organisations including the Unions, Signet Licensing, independent policing agents, the South African Police Services, SARS/Customs and the Home Affairs Department.

Selling or buying counterfeit is essentially theft, and is therefore crime. It is illegal to obtain, make, distribute, import or export counterfeit goods. Apart from the negative effect on the economy, trade in counterfeit merchandise is often linked to organised crime networks and syndicates. Buying counterfeit goods could ultimately fund activities such as money laundering, human trafficking, drugs, illegal weapons trade and international terrorism. Selling counterfeit may result in the confiscation of such goods, including the institution of criminal and/or civil legal action.

Before buying a cheap counterfeit jersey, hat, flag or other product, STOP and consider the following: If I buy this product I am supporting crime, I am taking revenue away from my rugby union, and I am buying a poor quality product.

Important information for rugby fans:


Always purchase merchandise from reputable retail stores and licensed vendors only

Insist on receiving an invoice as proof of payment, together with the name and details of the seller

Avoid purchasing merchandise from unlicensed street vendors and informal vendors at traffic intersections

On match day, certain vendors have permission to sell licensed product at Newlands stadium. These vendors will always be positioned close to the stadium. Contact the Western Province Rugby Shop or the Western Province Rugby Union if you are uncertain if the vendor is licensed.

Ensure that the product has an “Official licensed product” swingtag/label in conjunction with the official manufacturer’s details, but be aware that some counterfeit products may even have counterfeit labels, e.g. some counterfeit jerseys have a fake adidas swingtag and/or label.

Avoid purchasing products bearing unofficial labels, for example the “Sport” label I

f a product has a “Made in China” label, it does not necessarily mean that the product is counterfeit.

Some counterfeit products are made of poor quality materials, and may shrink or change colour in the washing

Contact the Western Province Rugby Union or Signet Licensing if you are uncertain whether your product is officially licensed or not.

Reporting counterfeit

A counterfeit reporting document is available at www.signet-licensing.co.za. Download this document and help us by reporting counterfeit goods. Information is forwarded to the SAPS and/or policing agents, and is also used to serve as a basis of gathering and collating intelligence which may be used in future investigations and initiatives.

Contact details

Western Province Rugby Union: 021 659 4600

Western Province Rugby Shop: 021 686 8181

Signet Licensing: 021 671 5887