Stop the illegal use of the Kotoko logo
Posted on: Tue Jun 12, 2012
Nearly a year after the Board of Directors and Management of Kumasi Asante Kotoko announced to the general public that no person or company would be allowed to produce and or retail any products or goods with the club’s logo without the appropriate licensing, Kotoko Express’ investigations indicate that some people continue to use the club’s registered insignia without any appropriate authorization.
Throughout the 2011/2012 Glo Premier League, I closely observed the brisk business these people were engaged in at most league centres.I often interacted with them pretending not be with working with Kotoko. In most instances (except on a few occasions at the Baba Yara Sports and Ohene Djan Sports Stadia) I found out that most of the people I came across selling Kotoko paraphernalia either produced them themselves or purchased them at wholesale prices at undisclosed locations in Accra and Kumasi.
I say undisclosed locations because these people never divulged the exact places where they produced or purchased their patently inferior paraphernalia which ranged from handkerchiefs, scarves, wrist bands, headbands, umbrellas, hats and caps, whistles and horns in addition to T-shirts and replica jerseys. The low quality materials used in producing these items in very large quantities and sold sometimes at outrageous prices, however, did not deter fans from buying them.
My observation was that these fans purchased the fake items out of the sheer love and passion they have for the club not knowing that the funds would not go into individual pockets instead of the club. The foregoing is a sad commentary of how Ghanaian football clubs have failed to tackle the issue of merchandising successfully to generate revenue.
Football clubs in Ghana, especially Kotoko and Hearts have allowed some unscrupulous people to take advantage of their supporters’ genuine desire to be identified with their great brands – for example, name, colours and logos as they provide them with substandard club paraphernalia.
It is important though to state that the management of Kotoko made good efforts at tackling the issue of merchandising last year when they issued a notice, which Kotoko Express published for a month, warning the public of the illegal usage of the club’s logo. I am aware that Champion Group of Companies led by their Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Kwaku Frimpong was given the sole right to produce various Kotoko paraphernalia.
Champion Group of Companies subsequently introduced a number of Kotoko paraphernalia on the market. Their products ranged from replica jerseys, T-shirts, flags, key holders, wrists bands and caps which were all of high quality. There were even Kotoko branded foot wears on sale at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium during one of Kotoko’s matches. The prices of these items were reasonable. The market price, for example, for a replica jersey I purchased in November 2011 was GH¢10 – which was indeed affordable because some of the inferior Kotoko replica jerseys and products I have seen this year were selling more than GH¢10.
The good work of Champion Group of Companies notwithstanding, the evidence on the ground suggests that the illegal usage of Kotoko’s logo is still prevalent. The unscrupulous dealers have not retreated. I have talked with Dr. Kwaku Frimpong and there is every indication that his outfit would soon descend heavily on those behind the illegal usage.
How we have all waited till this time is however worrying. I am reliably informed by Kotoko Deputy Accra Representative, Nana Kwame Dankwa that the right holders have reported the case of the illegal usage of the logo at the Police Headquarters in Accra. When I asked Nana Kwame why we have allowed an illegality to continue, his answer centred on time constraints.
That may be a legitimate excuse but I feel strongly that this is an issue National Circles Council (NCC) for example has to take up. With authorization from the right holders and perhaps working in tandem with the Police, the NCC should be able to clamp down the illegal business. We have taken this issue lightly for far too long. We cannot put the blame on anybody but ourselves. The rhetoric must stop!
At the time that a business entity has purchased the right to produce Kotoko paraphernalia, it is unacceptable and unfair that people outside the right holders will be allowed to carry on with their illegal business. I urge the right holders and all who have Kotoko at heart to join the crusade to stop the illegal usage of the Kotoko logo. It is indeed heartwarming to note that the right holders have announced that they would soon team up with the law enforcement agencies to drastically deal with the situation. I am keeping my fingers crossed.
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