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Fact check: Euro 2024 scams and false fines explained

June 11, 2024

UEFA Euro 2024 will not impose €5,000 fines for wearing fake jerseys. Authorities recommend buying tickets through official channels to avoid scams. Learn more about false claims online about the football championship.

The official Euro 2024 ball is presented in Stuttgart
Euro 2024 in Germany runs from June 14 - July 14Image: Michael Memmler/Eibner-Pressefoto/picture alliance

A total of 24 European countries will be competing in the men's Euro 2024 tournament, and more than 650,000 international football fans are expected to visit Germany. It will be a once-in-a-lifetime event for many but could quickly turn into a nightmare if you fall for fakes and scams online.

Several social media postsand articlessuggest that football fans could face fines of thousands of euros if caught wearing counterfeit jerseys, citing "specific German laws to combat the spread of fake goods."

German footballer Christoph Kramer, a member of the 2014 World Cup-winning team, was recently spotted wearing a fake jersey of the Spanish national team. The German daily newspaper Bild reported that he wore it during a television interview.

€5,000 fine for wearing fake jerseys?

Kramer explained that he wanted to show his solidarity with the Spanish national team, who were playing against Northern Ireland. However, since he was in Mallorca and could not find an original shirt there, he wore the one that was available. But can this actually be fined?

Claim: One user posted a video on TikTok claiming that English fans traveling to Germany might face heavy penalties if they are found wearing fake jerseys. The video states: "They can do random checks during the tournament even if you are not in the stadium. If they think you are wearing a fake one, they can fine you up to 4,000 pounds."

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Football fans will not be fined thousands of euros if caught wearing counterfeit jerseys

A few media outlets also fell for it. The reputed football website goal.comas well as the Daily Starpublished this claim as a story. In this YouTube video, the presenter claims, "German laws on trademarks mean police can do spot checks on tourists and slap fans with hefty fines for knockoff kits."

DW fact check: False.

Fans wearing fake jerseys for private use have nothing to worry about. The police will not stop and search you simply for wearing a counterfeit jersey. "The customs administration has no information regarding possible fines in relation to wearing counterfeit jerseys," Yvonne Schamber, a spokesperson for the German Customs Directorate, told DW.

However, it might be an issue if counterfeit jerseys are traded or used commercially. The spokesperson explained: "Offering or selling counterfeit jerseys can be prosecuted by the competent authorities, such as the police."

Schamber also added that individuals can even import goods for their personal use within the travel allowance limits from a non-EU country. "For travel within the EU's customs territory, there are no customs restrictions for individuals carrying their personal items. Therefore, in the private sphere, a fan can import or carry their personal jerseys."

The Customs Directorate, however, asks consumers to refrain from purchasing products that violate intellectual property rights. "Counterfeit goods harm the economy, the labor market, and fair competition. Often these products are of inferior quality or pose health risks."

Can you buy tickets from third-party websites?

Claim: The tournament is officially sold out, but many tickets are now being offered on websites like eBay. On this ticket marketplace, tickets are being sold at a very high price.

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UEFA has set up strict rules for ticket sales to prevent fraud

Similarly, several dubious accounts on social media are trying to woo users into ticket trades. This X account is offering "ticket assistance." We took a closer look and found some inconsistencies. The account is not verified, is only two years old, and only has a few posts. The link in its bio leads to a page that does not exist. And several social media accounts are selling tickets, like this Facebook group, and this X account, as are some individuals.

DW fact check: False.

Strict rules have also been set up for ticket sales to prevent fraud. Tickets should be bought only on the official UEFA website. It provides detailed information. And it does not allow the resale (outside of official channels), gifting, or auctioning of tickets. Organizer UEFA has warned fans not to buy tickets on the secondary market, stating: "Tickets purchased on the internet from third parties may be fraudulent."

Even if they were original, spectators might be barred from entering a stadium. "There is no guarantee these tickets will grant admission, because UEFA reserves the right to cancel tickets that were not sold through official channels, thereby making them invalid for entry," said the consumer rights expert Iwona Husemann to ZDF, Germany's national public television station.

The Cologne unit of the North Rhine-Westphalia Police also published a statement on this issue. It reads: "The police advise against buying on ticket exchanges where tickets are offered at vastly inflated prices. They will be blocked by UEFA — without compensation — and access to the stadium will be denied."

Cologne and three other cities in North Rhine-Westphalia are hosting Euro 2024 matches.

This does not mean that reselling match tickets is illegal or even impossible. You can resell your tickets using official UEFA channels. The resale tickets will be offered on the platform.

There will also be no paper tickets for Euro 2024, only mobile app tickets will be valid. They cannot be printed or downloaded as a PDF file, and the screenshots will not be accepted. If someone is unable to attend a match due to unforeseen reasons, they are allowed to transfer the ticket to a family member or a friend "through the dedicated mobile app." UEFA has said such transfers will take place only closer to the match.

Can anyone attend the event as a volunteer?

More than 16,000 volunteerswill help during the month-long football festival. They will assist the organizers in areas ranging from accreditation, fan zones, and ticketing. Several of them will be coming from outside Germany.

Claim: Several visa applications were made in different countries to attend the Euro 2024 tournament as volunteers. But can anyone come to Germany to work as a volunteer in the games?

DW fact check: False.

There was a selection process where individuals had applied for roles since June 2023, and the application period closed in December last year. Applicants were interviewed, and a proportion was selected. Although the program was open to everyone, including people outside Germany, applicants were not reimbursed for visa, travel, or accommodation during their stay in Germany.

The tournament mascot Albärt
The German government uncovered a visa scam pretending to get volunteers for Euro 2024Image: Robin Rudel/picture alliance

The German government has uncovered a scam where people in Turkey and Uganda were attempting to obtain visas using fake documents. As reported by German magazine Der Spiegel, these individuals were trying to enter the country as volunteers for the European Championship.

The fake applications were made in the Turkish capital of Ankara and Kampala, Uganda. Suspicion arose when German diplomatic teams found more than 30 applications with identical letters and documents. The German Federal Police have warned all other diplomatic missions to be extra careful while issuing visas for the event.

As Euro 2024 approaches, fans from across Europe and beyond are gearing up for an unforgettable experience. While rumors about hefty fines for wearing fake jerseys and issues with ticket scams can cause concern, the key is to stay informed and be cautious.

Edited by: Mark Meadows and Rachel Baig