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Firms Accused of Umbro Kit Ripoff!

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 17/05/2002

ELEVEN firms are being investigated over allegations that they fixed the price of Umbro replica football kits, the Office of Fair Trading said on Thursday.

The firms named as suspects were: Umbro, JJB Sports, John David Sports, Sports Soccer, Allsports, Blacks Leisure Group, Manchester United, Debenhams, Florence Clothiers (trading as Sportsconnection), Sportsretail and the Football Association.

The OFT wrote to the companies on Thursday setting out why it proposes to find that they "entered into a number of agreements to fix the price of football kits manufactured and supplied by Umbro, infringing Chapter I of the Competition Act 1998". The penalties could be as high as 10 per cent of their annual UK turnover.

A typical price for an adult replica shirt is about £40, and a junior shirt around £30.

Manchester United refused to comment before it had seen the OFT's proposed decision.

The Football Association said that it had publicly "acknowledged breaches" and made it clear that it had been assisting the OFT for several months.

Grimsby Town do not use Umbro kits and are not involved.

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