The true story of how the Polish media wrongly accused Nike…

In the near future there will be a reveal of new Poland National Team kits for EURO 2020, which will take place in 2021, and probably the ones for qualification round for World Cup 2022 in Qatar. For me as a football shirt collector there are a lot of emotions associated with new kits’ appearance. But… I need to admit I cannot forget the situation that took place during kits premiere before World Cup in Russia. I feel the need to write a column about that situation to show you how easy it is to make false accusation nowadays.  The worst fact is millions of Poles believed in media’s lies. Have you read my article “Types of football shirts” in “Shirts knowledge” section on my website?

Types of football shirts (click)

If not, now it’s a good time to do it, because there is high probability you won’t understand this column and the mistake made by the media. I’ll start my text with EURO 2016 shirts to show you step by step how big a lie was spread by media in Poland.

Success makes demand

Everyone has surely seen Poland National Team shirts from EURO 2016. At that tournament Poland reached quarter-finals stage and it was the biggest success for Polish football in years. Ok, I’m leaving to own interpretation the fact whether quarter-finals at European Championship is a success, but in Poland it was a really uncommon event. Thanks to EURO in France Poland National Team became famous – tickets were sold in the blink of an eye. With that came the need for more gadgets such as shirts. Who wouldn’t support a team that wasn’t a disappointment for the first time in several dozen years at a big tournament?

Nike released shirts for EURO 2016 for Poland NT in two versions – a supporter shirt and a standard replica. This is the secret knowledge which a lot of Polish journalists didn’t have and they spread a lie over the whole country. But here is one more important fact – with good scores of my National Team, people’s demands also rose and they wanted to buy gadgets that weren’t available in distribution as like as player issue shirts or socks. If you wanted to buy a shirt, your choice was between supporter shirt and replica, there wasn’t player issue shirt. Dreamed about collecting the full kit? Sorry, in sale there weren’t any socks and you weren’t able to collect the full kit.

It wasn’t something strange or unusual. It’s business. Nike is a company, company is a business, a business must make money and in order to do it, wise decisions need to be made. Let’s imagine suppose you have your own company and  you need to make a decision – do you introduce a new product for sale if you couldn’t find customers willing to buy it and it wouldn’t generate any revenue? If you want to say “yes” at this moment, please never open your own company 😉 That’s why it’s a normal situation that in Poland during EURO 2016 the kits were available only in two versions, supporter shirt and replica. You want a player issue? Sorry, no option. Of course, it wasn’t a problem at the beginning, because replica is the most demanded shirt in my country, but when our NT started to play better and better every match, then people’s desires raised. More and more people wanted to buy player issue version or socks to collect the full kit and Nike started to receive a lot of questions about those products. I need to admit, I also wrote to Nike a few times asking about the availability of socks and player issue items. Nike gave me a reply they did notice the demand for those products. Did it have any effect? Amazingly yes!

During the next premiere of Poland’s NT kits I was pleasantly surprised, because there were more items released for sale than the last time. It was a really great information for me! Nike did a favor for Polish supporters and gave them an opportunity to buy an additional item – home shirt was released in three versions: a supporter shirt, replica and player issue. If it weren’t enough, home socks of Poland National Team were released for sale! People who wanted to complete the full kit now could do so. At least the home kit, because the away version remained unchanged in comparison to availability of away kit from EURO 2016 – shirt in two versions and no socks.

Nike’s favour for Polish fans

I need to admit, I personally didn’t expect that Nike would introduce for sale more products of my NT. I know football shirts’ market in my country thoroughly. I’m aware that selling original products in Poland isn’t simple – they are quite expensive when compared to an average salary and when just around the corner there are a plenty of fraudsters offering fakes at low prices. Due to having good orientation about the shirt’s market in my country, I know that introducing new items for sale by Nike is a favour for Polish fans. I suppose one shouldn’t expect a good profit by offering for example player issue shirt which price is 549 polish zloty when the minimum salary is about 1700 polish zloty. Do you understand? For a lot of people this shirt is about 30% of their monthly salary. How many player issue shirts can you buy for the minimum salary? Compare this to the 3 kit pieces made available in Poland and then try to understand our market.

Despite this Nike decided to answer our needs and gave us an opportunity to buy player issue shirt. What was the general reaction in the country? Poland, especially Polish media, dragged Nike through the mud! Yeah, your eyes do not deceive you – Nike gave something extra and instead of receiving good feedback, they was wrongly accused. Polish media lied in Nike’s case. I cannot understand this up to this day. Ok, let’s begin the true story to reveal this huge lie.

569 Polish zloty for a shirt? At the market we can buy for 20…

Standard replica from EURO 2016 has catalogue price 369 Polish zloty. The new shirts from World Cup in Russia were priced at 349 Polish zloty. It means the new shirts were 20 Polish zloty (it’s about 5€) cheaper than previous ones, right? As you can see, in my country this fact is too hard to be understood. The catalogue price of player issue shirt was established at 569 Polish zloty, which is about 130€. Is it a standard normal price for new player issue shirt, isn’t it? What genius idea did polish journalists come up with, or to be more precise, what genius idea did some idiot come up with?

So, one brainless asshole compared the standard replica price of the shirt from EURO 2016 to player issue shirt from WC 2018. The effect? He came to a great conclusion, that the new shirts for Poland NT are… incredibly more expensive! Ok, I admit, if one imbecile does such brilliant comparison it doesn’t do much damage. The problem was that many more idiots copied his conclusion and then pseudo-journalists followed in their footsteps. The scale was so big, that almost every media outlet passed on the supposed revelations. Sad part is no one even bothered to check what was being compared. Yes, you are right, each of my readers can distinguish replica from player issue shirts. I have no words to describe the size of ignorance and stupidity of all those pseudo-journalists that talked trash about Nike.

A scandal! The price is astronomical, you have to take a credit to buy the new shirt!

Poland NT shirt: outrageously high price. Instanity?!

I remember well how it looked in Poland. When I opened a news portal there was this huge title: “take a credit if you want to buy the new NT shirt”. At portal B the main title was “Polish fans have to pay more for shirts than German fans”. Even the articles had a similar structure – at the beginning there was a calculation that Polish people earn less than people in Germany (an average salary in Poland is about four times less than in Germany) and next came the pictures of Poland NT player issue shirts for 569 Polish zloty and Germany NT replica shirt for 379 Polish zloty. Conclusion of genius journalists? You earn less than people in Germany and despite that you have to pay more for the same shirt. Ehh… You understand, don’t you? Well, what were the facts? Poland NT replica cost 349 Polish zloty, Germany NT replica 379 Polish zloty = Germany NT replica was 30 polish zloty more expensive. In addition to that Poland NT player issue was 569 zloty, Germany NT player issue was 579 zloty – again the shirt of Poland NT was cheaper. But for Polish journalists the conclusion was entirely opposite and they people in my country!

Shirts of Poland NT for only half thousand Polish zloty. Who wants to wipe the money off the fans?

I saw dozens of articles that were written this way. Almost all of them contained lies, in which the authors accused Nike of unequal treatment and have shown the company in a bad light. All of those accusations were unjust. Other wrong comparison I often saw was converting foreign currency into Polish zloty and showing that in richer countries people pay less for the same shirt than in Poland. For example pseudo-journalists presented shirts for England NT and converted pounds into Polish zloty. After the conversion, the price for England NT shirt was smaller. Ok, but… it isn’t any kind of surprise. It’s quite normal. At the day of writing of this article the basic version of Audi A8L in Poland costs 443 300 Polish zloty. How much does the same version of this car cost in England? £76 140, which gives about 376 300 Polish zloty. Poor Polish people, because according to journalists not only are they indigent, they also have to pay for the same car… 67 000 polish zloty more than richer people in England! Do you understand the lack of sense in this kind of comparison?

Poland NT shirts – “the dark crowd will buy it”?

Now let me ask you a question – is it Nike or Audi’s fault that in Poland there are such high taxes and all kinds of fees, duties and whatever else there is? Of course not! But those shallow comparisons filled people in Poland with hatred for Nike and had a really bad influence on Nike’s renown.

It’s better to not translate it to English…

The scale of lies was so big, that literally all in my country know about the subject and… believed in media’s lies. Almost all of the big media stations have published articles about this (but there still are places that are trustworthy and didn’t take part in this accusation). I remember when I got into a car, switched on the radio and then… again and again I heard the repeated lies about Nike’s shirts. Literally everywhere there were those false pieces of information about Nike and by the way, why not also say a few bad words about Polish Football Association, if there is a chance to do it?

Knowledge of an average citizen in Poland in football shirts topic isn’t as high as to allow to see the false information and not to believe it. I’m not surprised, because we cannot be experts in every field. The real question is why any of those pseudo-journalists who wrote all those lies didn’t verify the forwarded information? Where was journalists’ professional integrity? Where was responsibility for their articles? All of them made a mistake at the most basic stage that I can imagine – they compared two different, incomparable types of shirts… There was no chance to make a simpler mistake. The uneasy truth nowadays is that the majority of media don’t want to give us just the facts. They want to make a sensation to make money. Journalists’ professional integrity can be considered to be just a fairy tale.

That way the media in Poland the WHOLE country false information. Really, the whole country, millions of people. Agitation in Poland was so big, that people even started Polish Football Association, not only Nike. Situation was so serious, that the president of Polish Football Association had to take a stand and published on his Twitter account the following message:

„PZPN nie ustala cen benzyny na stacjach Lotosu, cen garniturów Vistuli czy cen koszulek sponsorów itd. Miłego dnia”

In translation to English it means:

“Polish Football Association doesn’t decide on prices of fuel on Lotos fuel stations, prices of Vistula’s suits or prices of shirts made by sponsors etc. Have a nice day”

Does National Football Associations really have no influence on shirt’s prices?

Is it fact or a myth? The president of Polish Football Association didn’t lie. It’s true. Football Associations have no influence on prices of their sponsors’ products. Nike is the main sponsor of Poland NT. What does that mean? The American producer delivers the clothing for the team and additionally…he PAYS for it. Sponsors are paying really big money every season/year to the team budget.

In return, sponsors receive exclusive rights to produce clothing, from which they can profit. I assume an annual contract is worth 1 million €, which roughly equals to 4 million Polish zloty. Do you remember the beforementioned salaries and prices of shirts in Poland? Do you think selling football shirts for 4 million Polish zloty is simple? In Poland it’s harder than in rich countries such as England.

Of course Nike earns money not only from selling shirts. Being the main sponsor of a certain team provides a lot of benefits. For instance, people are aware of the brand’s existence and buy a lot of its’ other products. For example a sponsor also has the right to use well known faces in adverts as like as footballers’ pictures.

So, football associations can only negotiate conditions of sponsorship deals. OK, I’m aware that they also approve designs of shirts and few other small aspects, but they hardly have any influence on their sponsors’ products and prices. This is the task for the company – how high to set the price, how to earn the biggest amount of money and how to sell as much merchandise as possible. Have you ever solved a school assignment: “what price should a ticket to the cinema be in order to make as much money as possible, if…”?

If I have a company and I pay money to be a sponsor, then it’s my business and my problem to find a solution how to do all of this so I could profit from it. Let’s imagine a situation – you are a boss of some company and decide to sponsor a team. Soon there is knocking on the door and you can see the president of this team, who says – “listen to me, reduce the prices of your products, because in the Internet people are saying that are too high”. There are two ways you can approach this. The first is answering – “ok, but I’ll also reduce my contributions in our sponsorship deal, because they are too high”. The second one is saying – “fuc* ***”.

“Gigantic absurdity, it’s too much”.

Conclusion? Never blame federations, associations or teams for the prices of their sponsors’ products. Especially when… the prices are normal, because Nike prices for Poland NT were really average prices. Accusing Polish Football Association for high shirts’ prices can be compared to going to a fuel station and accusing its’ workers that the price of fuel is too high. Does any worker at a fuel station have influence on the fuel price? No. They are there to help you, not to make a strategy for all concerns and to negotiate price of a barrel of oil.

God gave you your mind and free will, so… use both of them!

I still cannot understand how it is possible to make such a big, false accusation. How so many big media outlets could have copied all those lies? Why, when someone made something for you and gave you a possibility to buy an extra shirt, media dragged him through the mud? Nike gave people an OPPORTUNITY  to buy a player issue shirt. It wasn’t MANDATORY. Despite that, the whole country thought Nike is bad and the only thing they wanted was money, money and more money, because according to media the whole fucking world had cheaper shirts than Poland – they didn’t bother to verify if they weren’t comparing the prices of a replica and a player issue…

This situation which took place during the premiere of Poland WC shirts shows you never to believe in media sensations. In the upcoming months there will be a lot of premieres of shirts for EURO 2020 (the name of the tournament is still unchanged). I don’t know what situations it will bring, but I’m certain about one thing – use your mind. Check every information. Make your own conclusions. Don’t support any lies. Choose reputable sources of information. Listen to people who relay only real information, not fake sensations and click-bait news. Nah! I recently read “great news” titled – “a passenger landed the aircraft”. Where’s the twist? That passenger was a pilot of that airline, but… how boring would the title of an article be if it were “pilot landed the aircraft”?

In the World there are plenty of great journalists who really want to pass on reliable information. Even if any one of them makes a mistake, he or she can apologize for it. Do you know what is the worst in all the situations described above? I wasn’t able to find any media that had lied about Nike before and then apologized for it. Not. Even. One. They simply started to look for the next sensation. What about Nike and Polish Football Association? They lost a lot of renown and… nothing followed. That’s why I’m writing – don’t believe in big sensations. They aren’t true. Try to find an honest source of information. Media don’t care about anyone. Me, you, Nike or anyone else. Literally no one. The most important thing is the clicks’ range acquired by the so-called “breaking news”.

There is one more thing. After some time you may not find the controversial articles you have read. Why? When the novelty of a sensation wears off and media begin to live another “great story”, a lot of them delete old articles containing slanders and lies to escape accusations. I wish I had made screenshots two years ago to show you the most controversial articles which today don’t exist, because they were deleted by media.

I’m a person that really wants to give you only real information. I always do my best to verify all that I learn before I write my articles. Of course, I will make mistakes such as every other person. But after this happens there is a need to beat one’s breast and say sorry. If you are honest, try to find others like you in your environment.

What now?

New premieres of national shirts are coming. I would like to ask you for two things – don’t trust mainstream media stations and don’t believe in their sensations. Try to verify each information. I don’t know what items will be introduced in your country for sale, that’s why you should use your own mind. If you see lies, then do something – give negative feedback for lies and write the truth.

The second request is… if you’ve endured up to this point, it means my article is interesting for you and is worth spending time to read it. That’s why I ask you to share this article in a place chosen by you.

I have a bonuss for all who arrived to this point. The following photos are showed predicted look of Poland NT 😉


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