How to tell if a football shirt/soccer jersey is fake

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Intro

The replica football shirt business has become very big business indeed as the beautiful game has increasingly become the worldwide game. But amongst the hordes of eBay sharks and scammers, how can you make sure you are buying the real McCoy and not a poor imitation? In this comprehensive guide, I will show you exactly how, sharing the tips and tricks I use to ensure that my shirts are 100% genuine.

Sizing

 Let's begin by firstly looking at the sizing of the fake shirts. Most of the time, fake football shirts are sold as M or XL.  Of course, not all M and XL shirts are fake, so this is just an indicator. However, there are some sellers who only seem to sell M or XL shirts and are also listing these shirts in very large quantities. In this sort of case, the proverbial alarm bells should be ringing loud and clear and you should instead consider buying from somewhere else.   

Shirt detail

 Another indicator of a fake is in the detail of the shirt. In most listings these days, a seller will show you pictures of the actual shirt you will be buying as opposed to a stock photo. Therefore, take the opportunity to closely examine the shirt you are thinking of buying. Compare the shirt listed to other examples of the same shirt online (perhaps with a Google search) and look closely at details such as differences in the colour of the trim, the positioning of the various sponsors and how the team crest is applied (eg printed or sewn). Multiple differences between the shirt you are examining and the other online examples suggest that the shirt is unlikely to be genuine.

Seller reputation

 Another thing you should check before purchase is seller feedback. To do this, click on the seller's name and from there you should be able to read the feedback other buyers have left. Reliable sellers are likely to have few negative or neutral feedbacks, especially those that are accusing them of selling fakes. Having said this, do be aware that lots of buyers are unaware of how to check the authenticity of their shirt, so may well leave positive feedback even if it is fake.

Era and team

Both the era the shirt is from and the team that worn the shirt can also be considered. As a general rule, the more recent the shirt is, the more likely it is to be fake. Furthermore, take into account the team that used the shirt. For example, a shirt from a lower league team is far less likely to be fake than a Real Madrid shirt. This is not necessarily because (as in the words of the immortal Wealdstone Raider) they've 'got no fans', but it is true that bigger teams are likely to have a larger fan following and so the potential market for the fake sellers is far greater.   

Inside of the shirt

 In my opinion, this is the holy grail of clues as to working out whether or not a shirt is genuine. Firstly, observe the details on the inside of the shirt near the collar (these may be printed or on a tag). In particular, pay attention to where the shirt was manufactured; if it is different to where other examples of the shirt were made, it is likely to be a fake.
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In addition to this, note the inside washing information of the shirt. You can normally find this by turning the shirt inside-out and looking near the hem of the shirt. In fake shirts, there is often only one roughly square tag similar to the one shown to the right.

 

However, in genuine articles, there is often more than one tag and they should not look similar to the one in fakes. Different brands also have particular styles of inside tags and you should acquaint yourself with these; for example genuine Nike shirts will have a small tag with the Nike tick on (as shown 1st below) and Adidas shirts have a small additional tag with numbers on, including production date and serial number (shown 2nd below) .
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In closing

I hope this guide has been informative (if not particularly entertaining!) and that you are now clear on how to spot the dodgy dealers from the good guys. If you would like to, please check out my listings and hit me up with a follow at:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/riaw37
I sell lots of rare football shirts at great prices and am always adding new listings! And of course, it goes without saying that I can guarantee that all of my shirts are 100% authentic!
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