Cairo: The tracksuits and bags of Egypt’s Olympic team are emblazoned with the familiar Nike and Adidas logos, and the country’s committee chairman says that’s good enough — even though they’re fakes. “We signed with a Chinese distributor in light of Egypt’s economic situation,” Gen Mahmoud Ahmad Ali told The Associated Press in a telephone interview on Wednesday. Ali said the real thing was just too expensive, and the state of Egypt’s battered finances led him to opt for the counterfeit gear, which he said was “sufficient.”
And what if the sports apparel brands don’t like it?
If Nike has a problem with it, then it should deal directly with the Chinese distributor who sold it, Ali said in separate remarks to the state-run Ahram Online. Ali said the committee studied several options before deciding to go with the Chinese distributor.
The knockoffs won because the designer sports labels, whose goods can range in price from $300 (Dh1,100) to $500 per athlete, are not something the committee can afford. “This costs a lot of money, especially in light of the team being 112 players,” Ali said. “Plus we have the coaches, management and doctors going.”
“We are now in discussions with them to see if a solution can be reached,” Nike said.
An Egyptian Olympic Committee spokesman said the allegation would be investigated.
A Nike spokesman said: “Nike was recently made aware that the EOC chose a vendor for its athletes’ training and village wear who is alleged to have supplied counterfeit footwear and apparel bearing the Nike trademarks.
“Nike is highly concerned that if these allegations are true, the athletes will have received products that do not meet Nike’s quality standards. Nike’s authorised distributor in Egypt has sent two official communications to the EOC on this issue and no response has been receive
A popular uprising followed by 17 months of political unrest have decimated Egypt’s tourism industry and driven investors away. The country’s foreign currency reserves dropped by more than one-half since the uprising.