The support Donegal sports retailers gave in helping to remove unlicensed Donegal GAA jerseys from their shelves means the authorities at GAA headquarters will not be taking legal action over the issue of counterfeit merchandise.
Last week it was highlighted that a number of businesses were stocking unapproved merchandise with the officially licensed Donegal GAA crest on them.
Donegal GAA County Secretary, Aodh Mairtin O’Fearraigh, said consultation had taken place to see what steps should be taken to combat the problem in the future.
GAA spokesman and Director of Croke Park, Peter McKenna, said the work done in getting the situation under control means they will not be taking the matter any further at this stage.
“Aodh Mairtin did great job in getting the message out and the response was very strong from shops who just refused to carry the unlicensed material. They know that with official merchandise the benefit goes back to the county board. It was doing Donegal no favours that unlicensed material was being sold so, to be fair, the shops de-stocked it,” he stated.
He said the response was “positive” from the legitimate business community but it is a matter the GAA “takes very seriously”.
The growing success of the Senior Donegal team over the last two years, claiming history making back-to-back Ulster title wins and now earning a place in only their second ever All-Ireland Final, has prompted a boom in sales of Donegal shirts.
Last Sunday’s display saw Donegal supporters out number the Cork fans and Croke Park was awash with a sea of yellow and green football tops
Official supplier of Donegal GAA kits and supporters jerseys are sports wear firm, Azzurri, and the company’s Managing Director, John Molloy, says that buying “take-off” shirts not only damages their business and business of the local economy, it also impacts directly on the funding of the Donegal GAA team.
“We obviously have the rights on it but in terms of the ownership of the crest and who licences it originally, the GAA licencing department would have done that on behalf of Donegal GAA,” he explains.
Speaking of the illegal reproductions he stated: “It happens everywhere and the problem is that we the licensees lose earnings and Donegal lose earnings and the retailers stocking the official kit lose earnings.
“So the only message to send is for supporters to understand its an amateur sport and with the cost of it and the sponsorships comes from two sources and if they would really like to get behind the team, not only on the sideline but financially, is to buy the official kit.
“I know things are very positive for Donegal at the moment but if they look back in six or 12 months from now they will be focusing on the costs it took to get there, so its now people need to row in behind them and buy the official kit where possible,” he added.