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US Authorities Seize Thousands of Fake Super Bowl Items

  • VOA News

Seized counterfeit NFL merchandise is displayed before a news conference at the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII media center, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014.
U.S. law enforcement authorities say they have seized more than 200,000 counterfeit Super Bowl souvenir items and arrested 50 people in an effort to combat copyright infringement.

The seizures and arrests were announced Thursday at a news conference in New York City near the site of Sunday's Super Bowl, the championship game of the U.S. National Football League.

Federal and NFL officials at the news conference displayed fake jerseys, hats, T-shirts and other goods made to look like NFL merchandise.

The counterfeit items, if legitimate, would have been worth more than $21 million.

As part of their initiative, called "Operation Team Player," U.S. authorities say they also have taken custody of 163 websites identified to be selling counterfeit merchandise.

The eight-month operation has been targeting international shipments of counterfeit merchandise as it enters the U.S.