Football Association of Malawi (FAM) says it has opened an investigation into counterfeit Flames replica jerseys on the market.
The development comes after FAM announced that the original premium and standard jerseys which were selling at K29 900 and K24 900 respectively, run out of stock.
While FAM has also announced its intention to hike the price of the replicas in response to the kwacha devaluation, the fake jersey, is going out at K8 000, according to an advert on Instagram.
The advert reads: “Malawi, team ya [of] Peter Banda uzi wao upo [best quality uniform], sizes zote zipo dukani [all sizes in stock].”
FAM commercial and marketing director Limbani Matola said in an interview that the association has reported the issue to Malawi Revenue Authority and police.
He said: “We are on high alert and have since deployed intelligence to investigate and gather more information on the matter. Surely, the long arm of the law will deal with anybody involved in this malpractice.”
Matola said FAM is confident of rooting out the fake product before it can populate the market.
He said: “It will be easy to catch the culprits because we have designated outlets selling the original material. The original material is also of high quality and can be easily distinguished from the counterfeit one.”
FAM has since advised fans to buy only the original Flames jersey.
Matola said: “We would like to alert and warn our fans to desist from buying any fake products.
“The authentic Flames replica jerseys are only sold in official designated outlets and they should immediately inform FAM or the nearest police should they find anybody selling the Flames replica jerseys at other places than these official outlets.
“In Blantyre the replicas are being sold at Into Sports, Formula 1, Touch of Class, No Overpricing, Crystal Duty Free Shop and Pakhale Shop. In Lilongwe the designated shops are Into Sports, Puma Shop City Mall and Phatafuli Investments while in Mzuzu the authorised outlets are Kapida Investments and Zampia Sports Shop. Anything sold by a shop not listed here is suspicious.”
This is not the first time for FAM to be hit by fake Flames jerseys. In 2010 after the Flames’ qualification to the Africa Cup of Nations, counterfeit jerseys also flooded the market.
The pirated jersey manufacturer took advantage of the absence of Flames replicas on the market.
Football analyst Charles Nyirenda said the pirated jersey can result into huge losses for the association.
He said: “FAM is selling its jerseys at K29 900 and wants to hike the price while the fake material is at K8 000. That’s a huge difference.
“With the harsh economic conditions we are experiencing in the country, majority of low income earners might go for the fake one.”n