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How to Spot a Fake Football Shirt

Counterfeit football shirts come in a range of “grades”, normally including “A”, “B”, “C” and something “D”. The last 3 grades (B-D) are fairly easy to spot. Let’s go through the various different grades and give some tips on how to spot and identify fake football shirts.

Grade D are basically nothing like the original, such as a plain red cotton t-shirt with “AON” printed on the front…supposedly imitating a Manchester United shirt. If you can’t spot these fakes, read no further as you need to be committed.

Grade C are at least made of football shirt fabric, but may be a different type of fabric from the original shirts. They also may have a different cut or shape, they will be poor quality, including poor stitching and cheap fabric. They will have major items missing, such as no brand logos, no collar tags, different style of team badge etc… all very easy to spot.

Grade B these will have the same shape and color as the original shirts, and will have similar fabric. The team badge will generally be very similar to the genuine badge. However Grade B counterfeit are missing the brand logo, such as the Nike Swoosh. Counterfeit producers do this because it makes them less of a target; the brands are the ones with big anti-counterfeiting budgets, not the individual football teams. If you get caught selling a fake shirt with a Nike Swoosh you are going to get in a lot more trouble than without a Nike Swoosh. Fortunately this makes the Grade B fakes easy to spot.

Grade A from the outside these football shirts look pretty much like the real thing. You would not be able to spot this as a fake by looking at someone wearing it (which is the whole point of having a fake). You need to look on the inside of the shirt for the following give-aways:

  1. The inside of the embroidered team logo and brand logos on an original shirt will be very neat and tidy, you will not see any excess white embroidery fabric. You will not see any loose threads or messy stitching. Genuine badges are normally embroidered onto a patch, then sewn or heated to the shirt, whereas on the fakes they are embroidered directly into the shirt, this creates the messiness.
  2. Collar or inside seam tags. Generally modern genuine football shirts have quite long tags sewn into the side seam, whereas the counterfeit shirts will have standard looking tags that could go in any t-shirt. It’s easier to spot this if you have a known genuine shirt on hand from a similar era.
  3. Inside printing. Recent football shirts often have printing or heat transfers inside the shirt, such as “Red Devils forever” etc…counterfeiters will never bother with any of the inside of the shirt printing.
  4. Sizes are often smaller. Most counterfeits are produced in Asia and the sizes will generally run 1 size smaller, so a counterfeit XLarge will actually be closer to a genuine Large size shirt.

Counterfeit online vendors will generally rely on PayPal as their only form of payment.

Be very careful in buying new current season football shirts on Ebay, 90% of all these shirts are fake. If the price is lower than any other online retailer it’s definitely fake, and if the price is the same or higher…why take the risk? Don’t listen to feedback, most buyers don’t read articles like this and couldn’t spot a fake if it slapped them in the face.

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