The study revealed nearly €500 million is lost every year in the European Union due to fake sports equipment ©Getty Images

A study by the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), has claimed the sale of fake sports equipment costs legitimate manufacturers in the European Union €500 million (£365 million/$563 million) every year.

OHIM, the EU’s largest intellectual property agency, show in their study how sales lost due to the counterfeiting of sports equipment, such as footballs, sports helmets, tennis rackets, skis, gym equipment and skateboards, corresponds to 6.5 per cent of all sales in the sector across the 28 EU member countries.

Released through the EU Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights, the report displays up to €150 million (£110 million/$169 million) is lost annually in Government revenue due to counterfeiting, due to tax, social contributions and value added tax having not been paid by the producers and distributors of fake items.

A consequence of the selling of fake sports equipment is that due to selling less, manufacturers buy fewer good and services from suppliers, causing a knock on effect in other areas, leading to around €360 million (£263 million/$405 million) being lost each year.

“Every day, millions of people across the EU play and enjoy sport,” said António Campinos, President of OHIM, following the publishing of the report.

“However, very few of them know about the economic damage caused by counterfeit sports equipment in their own member states, and across the EU as a whole.

“With this series of reports, we are investigating the effects of counterfeits in terms of lost revenue and jobs, sector by sector, to provide a complete picture for policy makers and EU citizens.”

France were found to be the worst effected country
France were found to be the worst hit country ©Getty Images

Due to the counterfeiting of sports equipment, not including sportswear, the OHIM claim around 2,800 jobs are lost due to manufacturers selling less than they would have done with the knock-on effect of therefore employing fewer people.

France, which produced 15 per cent of the EU’s sports goods production, were found to have been the worst hit country by counterfeiting of sports equipment with the study finding that they lose roughly €82million (£60 million/$92 million) annually.

Spain were the next most effected country with a loss of €76 million (£56 million/$86 million) every year, followed by Italy with €53 million (£39 million/$60 million), the United Kingdom with €50 million (£37 million/$56 million) and then Germany with a total of €44 million (£32 million/$50 million), despite being the second largest producer.

The report is the third in a series being produced by the OHIM which looks into the economic impact of counterfeiting in industries throughout the EU focusing on job and revenue losses, with the previous reports having investigated the impact of fake clothes, sportswear, shoes and accessories and the impact of fake cosmetics and personal care items.

The full report can be accessed by clicking here sports_reports.pdf.