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May 18, 2022

6 Months To Go: are you World Cup ready?

By: Peter Gregory

It’s 2022, and football’s coming home … we can feel it! 

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is all set to kick off on 21 November … and England’s chances have never looked brighter! 

If you’re one of the many small businesses looking to cash in on football fever in 2022, then this guide is for you. We’ll explain why now is the time to get started on your World Cup campaign, even though England’s first game is a full six months away. You’ll learn which brand licensing and copyright rules you need to be aware of when designing garments and accessories. We’ll also share some product ideas that we think will be a great match for football fans this November. 

Qatar 2022: This time it’s different 

Qatar 2022 is going to be a very different tournament for clothing businesses, for a couple of reasons. 

First off, it’s a winter tournament. Traditionally, World Cup tournaments take place in the summer months (May to July). This year, for the first time ever, the World Cup takes place in November and December. 

2022’s diary move is good news for players — temperatures in Qatar shoot past  40°C in the summer. For businesses, it means we all have to think a little harder about which products to invest in. You might have made money with flip flops and t-shirts in the past, but the fans at home are going to feel a lot colder when they’re watching the games this year. We’ve got some product ideas for you later on in this article. 

Secondly, the global supply chain still hasn’t recovered. At time of writing, Qatar 2022 is a half year away … but a lot of our customers have already ordered their blank stock and raw materials. Goods are taking a long time to come in from the Far East, and shipping container charges are still sky-high. We also have the looming threat of inflation, which could eat into profits when you least expect it if you leave orders too long. Our advice is — if you can afford it — get some stock in as soon as you can. 

World Cup Copyright & Licensing: the rules

In fashion, design copyright and intellectual property rules are a minefield … and World Cup related projects are no exception.  If you want to make products for the World Cup season without landing yourself in hot water, then you need to tread very carefully. You can’t use official logos or claim any association with the tournament unless you have permission. 

This article covers the basics of what you can and can’t do, but you should also read our copyright article and talk to a professional for legal advice.

Off limits: Qatar 2022, FIFA, 3 Lions, England Football

Football is a global industry full of tightly regulated and vigorously protected trademarks (England Football, FIFA and Qatar 2022 for example). No matter how frustrating it may feel, you just can’t put the Three Lions logo or World Cup iconography on your products. 

Essentially, you need to make sure that you couldn’t possibly be accused of ‘passing off’, or fraudulently claiming endorsement.. Passing off is where you make a product that could be misinterpreted as official England Football or World Cup merchandise (in other words, avoid knock off and lookalike products). You also can’t suggest that your products have been endorsed by England Football, FIFA or the World Cup in any way. 

Safe to use: Flags and footballs

As a rule of thumb, when you’re designing your own merchandise, garments and accessories, you can use national flags and generic iconography (footballs, goals, boots and so on). There are some rules to be aware of:

England’s flag — a simple St George’s Cross (red on white) — is not a copyright-protected design. You can’t use the England flag to imply any sort of national endorsement or government link — this would be misleading and would be a breach of advertising rules (source: ASA). It’s perfectly acceptable to use the flag as a motif, though. A vivid two-tone white and red trim looks great on formal garments. You can also add the England flag as a hem tag or woven badge to your normal product line if you want to give things an England feel. Custom ribbon is another good option for point-of-sale stuff. You can pack and bag your regular stock in England-themed colours without making any costly permanent alterations. 

There are also plenty of royalty-free football-themed illustrations that you can use. Goals, footballs, gloves, pitch markings, gloves and boots are all staples for football-themed clothing and accessories. Once again, the golden rule is that you are up-front and honest in how you design your products. There should be no risk of consumers misinterpreting your goods as official England Football merchandise. 

Product ideas for 2022

If you’re looking for a way to pay tribute to the England squad this winter, think about the time of year first. Avoid thin t-shirts and go for warm, cosy, comforting products. Anything that protects against the rain is worth investigating. The World Cup final will be held on 18 December, exactly one week before Christmas Day, so if you have ideas for a festive crossover, go for it! 

Whether you’re a home knitter or a mass market screen printer, there’s an idea out there for you. Take a look at our inspiration board to get started:

That’s it for this week! We hope this post gives you a steer and helps you avoid some of the most common mistakes when coming up with sports-linked product ideas. Please remember to share what you do with our social media accounts — we’re always delighted to see what our customers are up to! 

Thanks for reading!

Pete

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