Fifa's airport shop shut as agent goes bust

The world's first Fifa store opened to great publicity at Changi Airport Terminal 3 in January 2008, but has closed down as Global Brands Group was declared insolvent last month. -- BT FILE PHOTO

IT OPENED with a blaze of publicity at Changi Airport's Terminal 3 in 2008, as the world's first official Fifa merchandise store.
But the shutters have gone down at the outlet, and the offices of Global Brands Group (GBG) - Fifa's exclusive licensing representative - have been cleared out.
The Singapore-based firm was declared insolvent last month, and its directors have left the country, leaving only questions behind as to how one of the world's leading licensing agents went broke less than six months after the merchandising bonanza of the World Cup in South Africa.
GBG rose to prominence in 2005, when it landed an exclusive contract to manage Fifa's worldwide licensing matters from 2007 to 2014, including the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.
The deal allowed GBG to manage Fifa stores worldwide and oversee the manufacture of Fifa-branded products like apparel, plush toys and souvenirs.
But according to company documents obtained by The Straits Times, its chief executive Mark Matheny, an American, stepped down last month. He was replaced by an Australian, Mr Jason Kardachi.