Sports

Anticompetitive practices

The Portuguese Competition Authority imposes on the national football league a precautionary measure to suspend its no-poaching agreement, invoking issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic (Portuguese Professional Football League) Free
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
Covid - 19: AdC imposes precautionary measure on the Portuguese Football League that suspends no-poach agreement* The AdC ordered the Portuguese Professional Football League (LPFP in Portuguese) to immediately suspend the no-poach agreement, an agreement to not recruit or hire another clubs’ (...)

The German Competition Authority discontinues its administrative proceeding against 2 TV broadcasters who secured exclusive rights to champions league broadcast because of new market entrants and the unpredictability of football season due to COVID-19 (Sky / DAZN) Free
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Proceeding against Sky and DAZN discontinued – Award procedure relating to Champions League broadcasting rights* Today, the Bundeskartellamt discontinued its proceeding against Sky Ltd., London, and DAZN Group Ltd., London, for discretionary reasons; the proceeding had been conducted due to (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Authority opens investigation into a suspected anticompetitive agreement among national basketball league and individual basketball clubs and warns similar agreements are not justified by the COVID-19 health emergency (Lithuanian Basketball League) Free
Lithuanian Competition Authority (Vilnius)
KONKURENCIJOS TARYBA LAUNCHES INVESTIGATION INTO SUSPECTED ANTI-COMPETITIVE AGREEMENT AMONG LITHUANIAN BASKETBALL LEAGUE AND BASKETBALL CLUBS* The Lithuanian competition authority Konkurencijos taryba has launched an investigation into a suspected anti-competitive agreement among the (...)

The German Competition Authority approves a joint sale of media rights of individual football matches by a central association (DLF)
Bird & Bird (Düsseldorf)
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Bird & Bird (Düsseldorf)
The Federal Cartel Office has approved the German Football League´s (“DFL”) marketing model for the transmission rights of the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 matches from the 2021/22 season onwards. DLF´s marketing model is based on the joint sale of media rights of individual football matches. Such (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority imposes interim measures on a billiards game association following a complaint raised on its anticompetitive rules (Belgian Bumper Pool Association)
University of Leiden - Europa Institute
In a decision of 24 January 2020, the Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority imposed an interim measure on the Belgian Bumper Pool Association (Belgian Golf Billiards League, BGB) concerning the balls that may be played with in competitions and matches organised by the BGB or (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority issues preliminary injunction against the use of exclusivity provisions in vertical agreements by the owner of a training aggregator app (Bruce)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 5 December 2019, the Swedish Competition Authority (“SCA”) issued a preliminary injunction against IM WITH BRUCE (“Bruce”), the owner of a so-called “training aggregator” app which offers subscribers access to a variety of fitness studios, prohibiting Bruce from using exclusivity provisions in its (...)

The French Competition Authority and the Austrian Competition Authority carry out unannounced inspections in the automatic swimming pool cleaning equipment distribution sector
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
Dawn raids* The General Rapporteur of the Austrian competition authority and the General Rapporteur of the Autorité de la concurrence indicate that unannounced inspections have been carried out in the automatic swimming pool cleaning equipment distribution sector. Following judicial (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines several companies for bid-rigging in the context of tenders for the assignment of broadcasting rights of football matches in tournaments organized by the Italian football league (MP Silva / IMG / B4 Capital)
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
ICA: agreement on tenders for the assignment of international rights to football on TV. MP Silva, IMG and B4 Capital fined 67 million Euros* On April 24 the Italian Competition Authority concluded an investigation, ascertaining a violation of art. 101, paragraph 1, of the Treaty on the (...)

The EU Commission fines a multinational company selling football apparel and footwear for restricting cross-border sales of merchandising products (Nike)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines Nike €12.5 million for restricting cross-border sales of merchandising products* The European Commission has fined Nike €12.5 million for banning traders from selling licensed merchandise to other countries within the EEA. This restriction concerned merchandising (...)

The EU Commission imposes €12.5 million fine on a company for restricting cross-border sales of merchandising products (Nike)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 25 March 2019, the European Commission (“Commission”) announced its decision to fine Nike € 12,555,000 for limiting the ability of licensees to sell licensed merchandising products to other EEA countries. According to the Commission’s press release, the restrictions concerned the merchandise (...)

The EU Commission fines a company for restricting cross-border and online sales of branded merchandise by its European licensees (Nike)
Crowell & Moring (Brussels)
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Crowell & Moring (Brussels)
E-Commerce in Europe: A Look into Nike’s Huge Antitrust Fines* On March 25, the European Commission (EC) fined Nike €12.5 million for restricting cross-border and online sales of branded merchandise by its European licensees. In December last year, the EC fined Guess €40 million for imposing (...)

The US District Court for the Northern District of California finds that an athletic association’s cap on grants given to athletes is an anticompetitive restraint of trade (National Collegiate Athletic Association)
Constantine Cannon (New York)
NCAA May Have Lost Antitrust Case to Student-Athletes, But How Much Did It Really Lose?* Friday’s 104-page ruling in the antitrust case challenging the compensation rules of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) is not a clear-cut victory for either side. Although Judge Claudia (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority finds no-poaching clauses in a gym company’s franchising agreements to be against competition law (BFIT)
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
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ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
This case summary includes an analysis of Turkish Competition Board’s (the “Board”) BFIT preliminary investigation decision (07.02.2019, 19-06/64-27) in which the Board evaluated non-compete and no-poaching obligations imposed by Bfit Sağlık ve Spor Yatırım ve Tic. A.Ş. (“BFIT”) to its franchisees. (...)

The Indian Competition Authority finds no cartelization or abuse of dominance but does find refusals to deal in the market for broadcasting of TV channels (Noida Software Technology Park / Star India / Sony Pictures Network India)
Vaish (New Delhi)
Background The given case involved an information filed by Noida Software Technology Park Ltd (“Noida/Informant”) alleging (i) Cartelization (ii) Refusal to deal (constructive and outright) and (iii) Abuse of dominant position by Star India Pvt Ltd (“Star India”) and Sony Pictures Network India (...)

The Indian Competition Authority decides its fourth leniency and fines broadcasting service providers for bid-rigging in tenders floated by sports broadcasters (Essel Shyam Communication / Globecast India / Globecast Asia)
Vaish (New Delhi)
CCI decides its fourth leniency, imposes penalty on broadcasting service providers for bid-rigging in tenders floated by Sports Broadcasters* By way of an order dated 11 July 2018, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) imposed a penalty of INR 22.36 Crore on Essel Shyam Communication (...)

The EU Commission carries out unannounced inspections concerning distribution of sports media rights and other related rights
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission confirms unannounced inspections concerning distribution of sports media rights and other related rights* The European Commission can confirm that on 10 April 2018 its officials carried out unannounced inspections in several Member States at the premises of companies (...)

The US District Court for the Northern District of California sets student-athletes’ antitrust case for trial (National Collegiate Athletic Association)
Rutgers University (New Jersey)
On March 28, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California rejected an attempt by the NCAA and 11 conferences to dismiss claims brought by current and former student-athletes playing Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) football and men’s and women’s Division I (...)

The EU Commission decides that an international sport association’s eligibility rules breached EU competition law (International Skating Union)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
Introduction On December 8, 2017, the European Commission (“Commission”) decided that the International Skating Union’s (“ISU”) Eligibility rules (“Rules”) breached EU competition law. The Rules provided that an athlete could be sanctioned for participating in an event not authorized by the ISU. The (...)

The EU Commission decides that an international sport association has breached European competition rules (International Skating Union)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: International Skating Union’s restrictive penalties on athletes breach EU competition rules* The European Commission has decided that International Skating Union (ISU) rules imposing severe penalties on athletes participating in speed skating competitions that are not authorised by (...)

Sports and competition law: An overview of EU and national case law
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
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Baker McKenzie (Brussels)
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Addleshaw Goddard (London)
Introduction The EU Courts established more than 40 years ago that "the practice of sport is subject to Community law […] in so far as it constitutes an economic activity." Sport is not just an economic activity, but big business, by some estimates accounting for almost 4% of European GDP and (...)

The Italian Regional Administrative Court of Lazio annuls the decision of the Italian Competition Authority concerning an alleged violation of Art. 101 on the sale of broadcasting rights (Sky / RTI / Lega Calcio / Infront)
McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
SALE OF SERIE A BROADCASTING RIGHTS, THE REGIONAL ADMINISTRATIVE COURT OF LAZIO ANNULS THE DECISION OF THE ITALIAN COMPETITION AUTHORITY* On 23 December 2016, the Regional Administrative Court of Lazio (the TAR) annulled the decision of the Italian Competition Authority (the Authority), (...)

The Italian Regional Administrative Court of Lazio annuls antitrust fines in football TV rights case (Italian Football League)
Administrative Court of Rome
1. Introduction The Regional Administrative Court of Latium upheld the appeals of major tv operators in the pay-tv market, Italian football League and its advisor and annulled the decision of the Italian Competition Authority for an alleged violation of Art. 101 TFEU, consisting in entering (...)

The EU Commission challenges the governance rules of an international sports association as being incompatible with competition law (International Skating Union)
Garrido Abogados (Madrid)
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Gibson Dunn (Brussels)
Skating on thin ice: The European Commission challenges the governance rules of an international sports association as being incompatible with European antitrust rules* The recent announcement by the European Commission (“the Commission”) that it is actively looking into the compatibility of (...)

The EU Commission sends a statement of objections to an international sports association because of the possible incompatibility of its governance rules with competition law (International Skating Union)
Liège University
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Liege Competition and Innovation Institute
International sport governing bodies and competition law - up to a ‘ban of banning’ for participation in unauthorised events organized by rival governing bodies. European Commission ready to set an example with the International Skaters Union? After opening a formal investigation into the (...)

The UK Competition Authority issues a statement of objection to a golf equipment manufacturer for banning the sale of its golf clubs online (Ping)
McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
ONLINE SALES RESTRICTIONS REMAIN A HOT TOPIC: UK CMA ISSUES STATEMENT OF OBJECTIONS* On 9 June 2016, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issued a statement of objections (SO) to Ping Europe Limited (Ping), a golf equipment manufacturer, alleging that Ping had breached EU and UK (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines undertakings for an anticompetitive agreement concerning the assignment of broadcasting rights to Italian football league matches (Vendita diritti televisivi Serie A 2015-2018)
Bonelli Erede (Rome)
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Bonelli Erede (Rome)
In its decision of 19 April 2016, the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) imposed fines totalling EUR 66 million on Sky and Mediaset, the main television operators in the pay-tv market, and on the Italian Football League (“Lega Calcio”) and its advisor Infront, for breach of Article 101 of the (...)

The Croatian Competition Authority fines several sports betting companies for cartel (Bolus / Favorit sportska kladionica)
Croatian Competition Agency (Zagreb)
CCA establishes a cartel between betting shops* The undertakings engaged in sports betting Bolus, Favorit sportska kladionica, Germania Sport, Prva sportska kladionica and Super Sport agreed on the future bookmaker commission fee in the Republic of Croatia. The CCA fined the bookmakers 9.7 (...)

The Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt rules on restrictions imposed on the use of online platforms and price comparison websites in a selective distribution system (Deuter)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 22 December 2015, the Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt (the “Court”) issued a ruling on appeal concerning the selective distribution system of Deuter, a producer of quality backpacks. The Court assessed two restrictions imposed by Deuter on the resellers belonging to its selective (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority grants individual exemption to an agreement signed on broadcasting rights (Turkish Basketball Federation / Digiturk)
Erdem & Erdem (Istanbul)
The Competition Board (“Board”) has granted individual exemption to the Media Rights Agreement (“Agreement”) signed by and between Turkish Basketball Federation (“TBF”) and Krea İçerik Hizmetleri ve Prodüksiyon A.Ş. (“Digiturk”) in accordance with Art. 5 of Act on the Protection of Competition No. 4054 (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority imposes provisional measures in a case involving TV rights for a series of cyclocross competitions (Telenet)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority has imposed on the 5th of November 2015 provisional measures with regard to TV rights for the Superprestige cyclocross competition* The v.z.w. Verenigde Veldritorganisatoren (the organizer) and Telenet concluded an agreement granting (...)

The EU Commission opens formal investigation into eligibility rules of a professional sports association (International Skating Union)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission opens formal investigation into International Skating Union’s eligibility rules* The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation into International Skating Union (ISU) rules that permanently ban skaters from competitions such as the Winter Olympics and (...)

The US FTC settles restrictive practices charges with trade associations after they agreed to implement changes and compliance programs (PSA / PLASMA)
Weil, Gotshal & Manges (Washington)
In Settlement with FTC, Trade Associations Agree to Change Rules and Adopt Antitrust Compliance Programs* On March 3, 2015, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced two separate final orders with trade associations, Professional Skaters Association, Inc. (“PSA”) and Professional Lighting and (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upholds the baseball industry’s historic antitrust exemption (City of San Jose)
Paul Hastings (Washington)
Baseball Antitrust Exemption Extends 93-Year Winning Streak In Federal Courts* Although federal courts may consider baseball’s antitrust exemption to make about as much sense as the infield fly rule, last week’s decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in City of San Jose v. (...)

Sport and exclusivity: A synthesis of national case laws
De Pardieu Brocas Maffei (Paris)
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Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Paris)
Introduction to national case laws: Overview of the European Union case-law An indication of the different aspects that the concept of sport involves, and its consequences over the legal rules to be applied, has been given by the European Court of Justice in 1974. At this occasion, a strict (...)

The US District Court for the Southern District of New York denies motions for summary judgment in 2 class action suits alleging anticompetitive conduct in markets for TV & internet sports broadcasting (Laumann / National Hockey League & Lerner / Office of the Commissioner of Baseball)
McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
On Friday, August 8, 2014, the Southern District of New York denied motions for summary judgment filed by the National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, Comcast Corp. and DirecTV LLC in suits alleging that these organizations and television providers conspired to hinder competition in (...)

The US District Court for the Northern District of California finds that an athletics association’s rules restricting payments to student-athletes violate antitrust laws (O’Bannon / NCAA)
Rutgers University (New Jersey)
On August 8, 2014, in O’Bannon v. National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Judge Claudia Wilken of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California found that the NCAA violated the antitrust laws by enacting rules that prevented student-athletes from being paid for the use (...)

The US District Court for the Northern District of California holds that NCAA restrictions on college players exploiting and receiving licensing revenue from the use of their names, images and likenesses violate antitrust law (O’Bannon / NCAA)
Constantine Cannon (New York)
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Constantine Cannon (New York)
NCAA’s Loss In O’Bannon Trial May Be Only A Partial Victory For Competition* Although competition scored a win on Friday in the student athletes’ antitrust suit led by former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon against the NCAA, it wasn’t a complete blowout. Judge Claudia Wilken of the U.S. (...)

The English High Court dismisses a competition law challenge to a disciplinary rule imposing sanctions for actions assessed to be inimical to the sport (Baker / The British Boxing Board of Control)
Blackstone Chambers (London)
Avoiding the clinch: judicial respect for the rules inherent to sport* In a recent bout in the High Court, the specificity of sporting disputes once again came to the fore. In Bruce Baker v British Boxing Board of Control [2014] EWHC 2074 (QB), 25 June 2014, Sir David Eady was faced with the (...)

A US District Court files an antitrust action against a boycott impeding private schools to compete on the markets for commercial exhibition of high school football contests and basketball contests in Virginia (Liberty Christian Academy / VHSL)
Womble Bond Dickinson (Washington)
Do Public School Athletic Leagues Have To Admit Private High Schools?* Liberty Christian Academy (LCA), a private high school in Lynchburg, Virginia, has filed an antitrust action against the Virginia High School League (VHSL), a non-profit organization of public high schools in Virginia. The (...)

A US District Court receives a complaint of anticompetitive agreements to exclude the plaintiff from the market for ownership of professional basketball franchises (Donald Sterling / NBA)
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (San Francisco)
Basketball, Surreptitious Recordings, and Antitrust* Donald Sterling — yes, that Donald Sterling — filed an antitrust lawsuit a few days ago against the National Basketball Association. You can download a copy here: Sterling Antitrust Complaint. It’s not clear if the complaint has now been (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority welcomes an undertaking by a sports association not to suspend or fine members who participate in competing events (SKKF)
Swedish Competition Authority (Stockholm)
Swedish Bodybuilding Association changes its application of loyalty clause* The Swedish Competition Authority welcomes the Swedish Bodybuilding Association’s (SKKF) confirmation that it will not suspend or fine members who participate in competing events. The Swedish Competition Authority has (...)

The US District Court for the Northern District of California deals with anti-competitive restrictions preventing payments to basketball players for use of their name, image, and likeness (O’Bannon / NCAA)
Womble Bond Dickinson (Charlotte)
Three Questions for the Third Week of the O’Bannon v. NCAA Trial* As the O’Bannon v. NCAA trial enters its third week, commentators are already predicting the fall of the “college sports cartel.” In the case, a group of about 20 current and former college men’s basketball and football players, led (...)

The Danish Competition Authority accepts new commitments in relation to a joint sales agreement between football clubs in the top Danish league (Superliga)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
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TDC Group (Copenhague)
On 26 February 2014 the Danish Competition Council (“DCC”) accepted revised commitments offered by the Association of Danish League Clubs (“ADLC”) regarding the joint sale of media rights to the premier Danish football leagues. The new commitments allow for a longer rights period (6 years), but (...)

The Australian Competition Authority issues a draft objection notice proposing to revoke two collective bargaining notifications lodged by a national industry body representing the interests of online wagering and sports betting companies (AWC)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
ACCC proposes to revoke immunity for collective bargaining and collective boycott against NRL by betting agencies* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a draft objection notice proposing to revoke two collective bargaining notifications lodged by the Australian (...)

The Danish Competition Authority accepts new commitments regarding football clubs’ joint sale of media rights for national league football (Superliga)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Danish Competition Council Accepts New Commitments regarding Danish Football Clubs’ Joint Sale of Media Rights* On 26 February 2014 the Danish Competition Council accepted new commitments offered by the Association of Danish League Clubs regarding the clubs’ joint sale of media rights to Danish (...)

The Polish Competition Authority fines one company for resale price maintenance on the ski equipment and accessories market (Sport & Freizeit)
WKB Wiercinski Kwiecinski Baehr (Poznan)
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WKB Wierciński Kwieciński Baehr (Warsaw)
On 31 December 2013, the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (hereinafter “the OCCP President”) issued a decision concerning minimum resale price maintenance practices on the market of ski equipment and accessories in Poland (Decision No. DOK – 7/2013). Although the (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines media company and football clubs for breaching a resolution on the acquisition of broadcasting rights for football competitions (Mediapro / Real Madrid / FC Barcelona / Sevilla / Racing de Santander)
European Commission (Brussels)
Spain: The Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia fines Mediapro and four Football Clubs € 15 000 000* On 2 December 2013, the Council of the National Commission for Markets and Competition (Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia or CNMC) imposed fines amounting to € 15 (...)

The Italian Competition Authority launches an investigation into a suspected breach of Article 101 TFEU in relation to the supply of nutrition products for wellness and fitness (Enervit)
Queen Mary University (London)
In November 2013, after receiving a complaint from a pharmacist and owner of a website for online retail shopping, the Italian Antitrust Authority (AGCM) has started a formal investigation on vertical restrictions of competition stemming from agreements between Enervit S.p.A. (Enervit), a (...)

The US District Court for the Northern District of California certifies a class of student athletes seeking injunctive relief, though declines to certify a damages class arising from the allegedly preclusive effect of rules that would impede group licensing arrangements with videogame developers and broadcasters (NCAA Student Athletes)
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (San Francisco)
Injunctive Relief, but not Damages Class, Certified in NCAA Student-Athlete Litigation* In In re NCAA Student-Athlete Name & Likeness Licensing Litigation, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160739 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 8, 2013) (Wilken, J.)., the Court certified a class of current and former (...)

The US District Court for the Northern District of California rejects the defendants’ motion to dismiss challenging antitrust claims arising out of an exclusive license deal (Patrick Dang / San Francisco Forty Niners)
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (San Francisco)
Single-Brand Market Claims Are Not Dead* Modern antitrust law’s focus on inter-brand competition has made it much more difficult to plead and prove single-brand market claims. The law’s concern with inter-brand competition is so strong that some observers have all but written off such claims as (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority conducts dawn raids at the premises of the incumbent in the Belgian market for lotteries and betting (Loterie Nationale)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In a press release of 25 July 2013, the College of Competition Prosecutors confirmed that it had carried out dawn raids on 23 July 2013 at the premises of Nationale Loterij/Loterie Nationale, the incumbent on the Belgian market for lotteries and betting. Reportedly, the dawn raids follow (...)

The EU Court of Justice upholds the ruling that adjudication on the merits would be devoid of purpose since the applicant did not have sufficient interest in the matter at the time he brought his challenge to the Commission’s decision (Guillermo Cañas)
Blackstone Chambers (London)
Cañas: no sufficient interest in showing anti-competitive rules* Retirement comes too soon for many professional sports players, but for Guillermo “Willy” Cañas, an Argentinean tennis player once ranked world number 8, there was yet more to be lost upon retirement than just the tournament prizes (...)

The Swedish Market Court prohibits the application of excessively stringent loyalty rules (Swedish Automobile Sports Federation)
Swedish Competition Authority (Stockholm)
Good for competitors, spectators and the development of automobile sports* The decision of the Swedish Market Court stating that the Swedish Automobile Sports Federation may not apply their loyalty rules is good for those involved in automobile sports as well as for the spectators. “I am very (...)

The Swedish Market Court adopts a decision stating that a sport automobile federation cannot apply its loyalty rules in the future (Automobile Sports Federation)
European Commission (Brussels)
Sweden: Market Court’s Decision in Automobile Sports Federation Case* On 20 December 2012, the Swedish Market Court (the Court) adopted a decision stating that the Swedish Automobile Sports Federation (the Federation) cannot apply its loyalty rules in the future. In May 2011, the SCA issued a (...)

The Swedish Market Court sees a non profit association for motor sports as an undertaking and rules against certain prohibitive rules (Svenska Bilsportsforbundet)
Baker McKenzie (Stockholm)
The "Svenska Bilsportförbundet" ("SBF") is a non-profit organisation adopted by the National Sports Federation ("Riksidrottsförbundet") as a "special sports federation" for the organisation of motorsports in Sweden. The SBF organises a number of motorsport organisations in Sweden. For the (...)

The Federal Court of Australia rejects competition law challenge to thoroughbred horse racing rules that exclude them from artificial insemination (McHugh / The Australian Jockey Club)
Brent Fisse Lawyers (Paddington)
1. Artificial insemination and thoroughbred racehorses –anti-competitive agreements and the decision in McHugh v The Australian Jockey Club Limited [2012] FCA 1441(19 December 2012) Thoroughbred horse racing around the world is governed by rules that do not allow thoroughbreds bred by (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority issues an interim order prohibiting national elite ice hockey league from boycotting players from North America’s national hockey league (Svenska Hockeyligan)
European Commission (Brussels)
Sweden: The Swedish Competition Authority issued an interim order prohibiting Svenska Hockeyligan AB, Sweden’s elite ice hockey league, from boycotting players from North America’s National Hockey League* On 20 September 2012, the Swedish Competition Authority (SCA) issued an interim order (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority addresses new developments on the joint selling of commercial rights for football broadcasting (Romanian Football Federation)
Kinstellar (Bucarest)
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OMV Petrom (Bucharest)
Original case In 2011, an investigation launched on the national market of media rights over football competitions brought the first case in which the investigated parties proposed commitments based on the new guidelines on commitments adopted by the Romanian Competition Council (“RCC”) in the (...)

The UK Appeal Tribunal of the Rugby Football Union rules that provisions for Primacy of Tenure with three clubs exemption rule constitute an infringement of Articles 101(1) and 102 TFEU (London Welsh / RFU)
Blackstone Chambers (London)
Competition law achieves fair play* The London Welsh decision provides a rare but telling example of competition law marching its way onto the field of professional sport. London Welsh won rugby union’s Championship in the 2011-12 season. This would, in ordinary circumstances, have entitled (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit rules that an association may limit the number of available scholarships and place restrictions on those awarded without committing antitrust violations in the market for scholarships granted to student athletes (Agnew / NCAA)
University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School of Management (Philadelphia)
Many of the most impactful cases in the history of sports law are antitrust based. Those cases range from a 1920s foundational case granting baseball’s antitrust exemption to the series of landmark cases evaluating the move by the Raider’s NFL franchise back and forth between Los Angeles and (...)

The Paris Commercial Court seeks the opinion of the French Competition Authority on the broadcasting rights for championship football matches (Ligue de Football Professionnel)
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
The Paris Commercial Court seeks the opinion of the Autorité de la concurrence on the compatibility with competition rules of the call for tenders the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP - French professional football league) issued in 2010 to grant broadcasting rights for League 2 football (...)

Sports and competition law: An overview of EU and national case law
Sidley Austin (Brussels)
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Norton Rose Fulbright (Paris)
1. Introduction This invaluable e-Competitions special issue on sports brings together more than 60 case summaries arising from the different EU Member States over the last five years. Practitioners and others with an interest in the interface between sports and competition law are only too (...)

The German Competition Authority accepts commitments offered by two sports leagues concerning the joint award of media rights (League Association / German Football League)
European Commission (Brussels)
Germany: Green Light for current Marketing Model of Football League Media Rights * On 17 April 2012, the award procedure for the media rights of the 1st and 2nd German football leagues has been concluded. On 12 January 2012, the Bundeskartellamt (BKartA) accepted the commitments offered by (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority decides that the match-fixing activities of football clubs are outside the scope of Turkish competition legislation (The Turkish Football Clubs)
GlaxoSmithKline (Istanbul)
The Turkish Competition Board (the “Board”) recently (on 21 June 2012) made public its reasoned decision (the “Decision”) on the match-fixing activities of some of Turkey’s football clubs, a scandal that has gripped the Turkish public since last year. In contradiction of the claims of the third (...)

The EU Court of Justice renders its judgment on licensing of satellite broadcasting holding that national law blocking the importation of foreign decoders is contrary to the freedom to provide services (Football Association Premier League)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
The Court of Justice Speaks On Licensing Of Satellite Broadcasting* On October 4, the European Court of Justice rendered its judgment in Premier League v QC Leisure. The Court concludes that blocking the importation of Greek pay-TV decoders into the UK restricts the freedom to provide services (...)

The EU Court of Justice rejects the argument that the prohibition on the import, sale and use of foreign decoding devices was necessary to ensure compliance with the UK blackout rule (Football Association Premier League)
University of Leiden - Europa Institute
Premier League fans in Europe worse off after Murphy judgment* When the European Court of Justice (CJ) delivered its judgment in joined cases FA Premier League v QC Leisure and others (C-403/08) and Karen Murphy v Media Protection Services (C-429/08) (Murphy), it was deemed a radical (...)

The EU Court of Justice validates exclusive rights for broadcasting of sports events provided they do not grant absolute territorial exclusivity (Football Association Premier League)
Vogel & Vogel (Paris)
The Football Association Premier League (FAPL), holder of the television broadcasting rights for the Premier League, the leading professional football league competition for football clubs in England, grants exclusive licences in respect of those broadcasting rights to one TV channel per (...)

The EU Court of Justice issues its preliminary ruling holding that restricting the sale of European foreign satellite decoder cards is “contrary to the freedom to provide services” (Football Association Premier League)
Max Findlay (London)
Little, large and not proven* The big story for British sports fans has been the recent ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) in the FA Premier League / Karen Murphy case. Effectively, the ECJ has said that British viewers can buy live English Premier League football (...)

The Argentinian Secretariat of National Commerce holds a leading sports broadcasters contractual conditions anti-competitive under national legislation and awards a cable television provider interim injunctive relief (Telecentro / Fox Sports Latina America)
Bureau Veritas (London)
Complainant Telecentro S.A., a cable television provider, was awarded interim injunctive relief by the Secretariat of National Commerce acting on findings from the national competition authority that Fox Sports Latin America S.A. breached art. 2 of the Ley 25.156 on the protection of (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit vacates a lower court’s injunction that lifted football players’ lockout in an antitrust suit (Tom Brady / National Football League)
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
Injunction Against NFL Lockout Improperly Granted in Players’ Antitrust Suit* Earlier today, the U.S. Court of Appeals in St. Louis vacated an injunction lifting the National Football League’s "lockout" of its players. The divided appellate court, just five days after hearing oral argument on (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority states that the rules of the automobile sports federation need to be amended (Automobile sports federation)
European Commission (Brussels)
Sweden: More Competition needed in Organization of Motor Racing Events* ”Holders of a racing or steward licence from the Swedish Automobile Sports Federation should be able to compete or be a steward in races organized by clubs that are not affiliated to the Federation. It is therefore (...)

The US District Court for the District of Minnesota issues an injunction ending football players lockout in an antitrust suit (NFL)
Garrigues (Brussels)
The NFL Lockout* In our belief that the application of competition law to the world of sports has a tremendous potential that still today remains to a great extent unexplored in the EU. Not only are sports-related cases some of the most visible ones at the EU level (for the general public (...)

The US District Court for the District of Minnesota declares that locking out employees, who have stopped engaging in collective bargaining and are no longer represented by the union, is not protected under the nonstatutory labor exemption to antitrust scrutiny in the market for professional football players (Brady / NFL)
Pepper Hamilton (Philadelphia)
The recent National Football League (NFL) lockout has put a spotlight on federal antitrust law. After failed negotiations between the NFL and the players’ union (the National Football League Players Association, or NFLPA), on March 11, 2011 – the day that the most recent collective bargaining (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority accepts commitments from the national football federation in relation to the joint selling of media rights (Federația Română de Fotbal / Liga Profesionistă de Fotbal din România)
University of Macau - Faculty of Law
On 19 April 2011 the Romanian Competition Authority (CC) accepted the commitments proposed by the Romanian Football Federation (FRF) and, one of its members, the Romanian Professional Football League (LPF) in relation to the joint selling of the media rights and thus closed its investigation (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines a broadcasting company and its subsidiary for abusing their dominant position in the market for audiovisual retransmission rights of football matches (Mediapro / Gol Tv)
Kim & Chang (Seoul)
The Spanish competition authority (CNC) has fined jointly MEDIAPRODUCCIÓN S.L. (MEDIAPRO) and its subsidiary GOL TV 500,000 Euros for abusing its dominant position in the market for audiovisual retransmission rights of football matches. The facts that have led to the decision of the CNC can be (...)

The EU Court of Justice Advocate General Kokott considers that territorial exclusivity agreements relating to transmission of live football matches are contrary to EU law (Football Association Premier League)
Wiggin (London)
I. Background The Football Association Premier League (“FAPL”) is the governing body of English Premier League football. Every year FAPL organises a competition in which 20 member clubs play against each other. FAPL is authorised by its members to license broadcasters to provide audiovisual (...)

The Advocate General Kokott renders her opinion holding that the principle of exhaustion applies to the transmission of live football matches in the same way as to physical products (Football Association Premier League)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
UK Pubs And Greek Decoders – The Implications Of The Premier League Case For The Dissemination Of Digital Content* The European Court of Justice is expected to render its judgment in Premier League v QC Leisure in the next few months. At the heart of the case, lies the question whether (...)

The US Supreme Court rejects special sports league exemption from antitrust scrutiny adopting a narrow view of Copperweld immunity (American Needle / National Football League)
Jones Day (New York)
The U.S. Supreme Court adopts a narrow view of Copperweld immunity in American Needle, Inc. v. National Football League Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act is, in important ways, extraordinary in its simplicity. It broadly prohibits all agreements—“[e]very contract, combination . . . or (...)

The US Supreme Court finds that a football league and its members should not be treated as a single entity (American Needle / National Football League)
Dish Network (Denver)
American professional sports associations such as the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Football League (NFL), the National Hockey League (NHL), and the Major League Baseball (MLB) generate significant economic activity. In 2010, their combined revenue exceeded $21 billion and (...)

The US Supreme Court applies a functional test to determine whether joint venture activity triggers antitrust liability (American Needle / National Football League)
Shearman & Sterling (New York)
Introduction Section 1 of the Sherman Act outlaws contracts, combinations and conspiracies that unreasonably restrain trade. Therefore, to establish liability under Section 1, it is necessary to show a plurality of actors in agreement; there can be no contract, combination or conspiracy with (...)

The US Supreme Court holds that teams of the national football league are engaged in concerted practices (American Needle / National Football League)
Stanford University - Stanford Law School
U.S. Supreme Court holds licensing activities of NFL teams were joint conduct subject to § 1 Sherman Act* On 24 May 2010 the U.S. Supreme Court held that teams of the National Football League (“NFL”) engaged in concerted action subject to Section 1 Sherman Act when licensing their intellectual (...)

The US Supreme Court reverses the lower court’s decisions addressing the issue of single entity notion under antitrust law (American Needle / National Football League)
University of Pennsylvania
American Needle, Inc. v. National Football League* In American Needle, Inc. v. National Football League, 130 S.Ct. 2201 (2010), the Supreme Court held that the NFL acting through its incorporated subsidiary NFL Properties, Inc. (NFLP) was not a single entity but rather a combination of its 32 (...)

The Portuguese Supreme Court dismisses claims for damages in the football broadcasting rights case on the basis of EU competition provisions (Vitória Sport Club / Federação Portuguesa de Futebol / Radiotelevisão Portuguesa)
New University of Lisboa - Faculty of Law
In a case that goes back to a football game held in 1997, and in a rare example of private enforcement of competition law in Portugal, the claims for damages by a Portuguese football club, supported by the Portuguese Football Federation, were finally dismissed in the last instance. Vitoria (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority issues a resolution holding that exclusivity agreements for the sale of broadcasting rights for national football championship exceeding three seasons are anticompetitive (Sogecable / AVS)
Garrigues (Brussels)
Sale of Football TV Rights: One size fits all?* The Spanish NCA adopted last week its long-awaited decision with regards to the sale of television rights for the national football championship. The essence of its decision is simple: agreements concluded between football clubs and television (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority limits the duration of contracts concluded between broadcasters and football clubs for the acquisition and resale of football broadcasting rights for Spanish League and Cup matches, as well as a pooling agreement between broadcasters, to three years (AVS / Mediapro / Sogecable / Clubs de Fútbol de 1 y 2 División)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
On April 14, 2010, the Council of the Spanish Competition Commission (the “CNC”) adopted a decision in a case against several broadcasters operating in the markets for the acquisition and resale of football broadcasting rights for Spanish League and Cup matches, and football clubs of the 1st and (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines a sports association for having impeded individual sale of broadcasting rights (Italian Football Association)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 16 December 2009, the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) ruled that the Italian Football Association (“IFA”) had infringed Article 101 TFEU by implementing an agreement impeding the sale by individual football clubs of television broadcasting rights relating to Second Division Championship (...)

The French Competition Authority fines €6.9 million a football association and rights for sports management agency for anticompetitive agreements on the market for audiovisual rights (FFF / Sportfive)
Crédit Agricole (Paris)
Following its 2001 and 2004 decisions to investigate competition in the field of management of professional football rights, the Autorité de la concurrence imposed a fine of 6.9 million € on the Fédération Française du football (FFF), the French football association, and Sportfive for their (...)

The Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf rejects complaint of sports associations (German Football League / Association of Leagues)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In a recently published decision of 16 September 2009, the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf rejected a legal action brought by the German Football League (“DFL”) and the Association of Leagues against the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”). In April 2008, the DFL had presented to the FCO a (...)

The UK High Court of Justice rules collective and exclusive sports rights permissible in Art. 81/101 EC case (BAGS / AMRAC / Turf TV)
Oxera (Oxford)
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Oxera (Oxford)
In Bookmakers’ Afternoon Greyhound Services Ltd v Amalgamated Racing Ltd (2008)(BAGS v AMRAC), the UK High Court dismissed allegations of anti-competitive conduct by a new sports broadcaster part-owned by racecourses. BAGS v AMRAC is one of the significant private actions in recent years (...)

The UK Court of Appeal upholds a judgment that a co-operative joint venture between certain racecourse owners for the supply of images, sound, and data to licensed betting offices in respect of horse races held at their racecourses does not infringe Art. 81 EC (Bookmakers’ Afternoon Greyhound Services / Amalgamated Racing)
DG COMP (Brussels)
The Court of Appeal of England & Wales has upheld a High Court judgment that a co-operative joint venture between certain racecourse owners for the supply of images, sound and data to licensed betting offices in the United Kingdom in respect of horse races held at their racecourses is not (...)

The Italian Competition Authority investigates the sale of television rights in the national football league on suspicion of such rights having been packaged to benefit incumbent pay-TV operators and not viewers (Lega Calcio)
University of Turin
Since July 22, 2009 the Italian Competition Authority is investigating the sale of lucrative television rights to soccer matches in the country’s top league, Lega Calcio, because it suspects such rights have been packaged to benefit incumbent pay-TV operators and not viewers (Case n° A/418 of (...)

The Serbian Competition Authority prosecutes a sports federation for mandating its athletes to use a single brand of protective wear (Karate Federation of Serbia / BMA Trading)
University of Macau - Faculty of Law
Summary Serbian Competition Authority found anticompetitive the agreement between the Karate Federation of Serbia (KFS) and an exclusive importer of Adidas protective wear that mandated KFS athletes to use exclusively Adidas wear during the KFS-organized competitions. The agreement was (...)

The Polish Supreme Court confirms the National Competition Authority’s decision on the illegality of an "English clause" on the market for football broadcasting rights (Canal + / Polski Związek Piłki Nożnej)
Greenberg Traurig Grzesiak (Warsaw)
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PKN Orlen (Warsaw)
On 7 January 2009, the Polish Supreme Court issued a long awaited judgement concerning an “English clause“ in an agreement between pay TV operator (Canal +) and a Polish football association, Polski Związek Piłki Nożnej ("the PFA"), which was assessed by the President of the Office of Competition (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit allows an association to hold the exclusive right to license intellectual property, finding it a reasonable restraint of trade when licensing the logos of professional baseball teams (MLB Properties / Salvino)
Weil, Gotshal & Manges (New York)
In American Needle v. National Football League and Major League Baseball Properties v. Salvino, the Seventh and Second Circuits, respectively, rejected antitrust challenges to professional sports league licensing arrangements. These decisions demonstrate the difficulties faced by antitrust (...)

The English High Court dismisses price fixing claim by bookmakers relating to collective exclusive broadcasting licences (Bookmakers Afternoon Greyhound Services / Amalgamated Racing)
Shoosmiths (Thames Valley)
Background 1. The British horseracing industry is worth over £830 million annually. Since 1987, licensed betting offices («LBOs») have been allowed to show live coverage of racing from courses across the UK and Ireland. In 1987, the four largest British bookmakers founded Satellite Information (...)

The German Competition Authority requires additional commitments to allow joint selling of football rights (German Football League)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
According to press releases of 17 and 24 July 2008, the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) has informed the German Football League (DFL) that the marketing model it has recently proposed concerning the joint selling of individual league members’ TV broadcasting rights to Bundesliga football (...)

The High Court of England and Wales refers questions to the ECJ regarding whether the prohibition on the use of foreign satellite decoder equipment and cards in the UK infringes, inter alia, Art. 81 EC (Football Association Premier League / QC Leisure)
DG COMP (Brussels)
In two separate cases involving the same claimant, the High Court of England and Wales has referred questions to the European Court of Justice regarding whether the prohibition on the use of foreign satellite decoder equipment and cards in the UK infringes, inter alia, Article 81 EC. (...)

The Italian Competition Authority closes the investigations for violations of Art. 81 and 82 EC in the equestrian sports market following commitments proposed by a sports federation (Federazione Italiana Sport Equestri)
Ashurst (Brussels)
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Legance - Studio Legale Associato (Rome)
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Banca d’Italia (Italian Central Bank)

The Danish Competition Authority negotiates a fine with an association of suppliers of nautical equipment, its director and chairman for price agreements and retail price maintenance (Nautisk Udstyr)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
On the 20 April 2008, the association Nautisk Udstyr ApS, accepted to pay a fine of DKK 400,000 (EUR 53,000) for infringing the Danish Competition Act. The association’s director and Chairman also each accepted a personal fine of DKK 25,000 (EUR 3,000) for their involvement. The investigation (...)

The Italian Competition Authority opens proceedings in the market of football audiovisual rights for alleged violation of Art. 81 and/or 82 EC (Lega Calcio / Chievo Verona)
Luiss Guido Carli University (Rome)
On April 2008, the Italian Competition Authority (hereinafter, also the “Authority”) launched an investigation in the market of football audiovisual rights in order to find out any possible infringements of article 81 and/or 82 of the EC Treaty. Party under investigation Investigations (...)

The Austrian Competition Authority opens the market for broadcasting rights of skiing events (ORF- ÖSV / Broadcasting rights of skiing events)
DORDA (Wien)
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KIEHL (Vienna)
Background In three famous decisions the European Commission decided that the central marketing of the media rights of the Football Premier League may give rise to horizontal and vertical competition concerns.. Particularly, the Commission stressed that media rights should be awarded according (...)

The German Competition Authority tolerates cooperation between Pay-TV operators for sports events broadcasting (Premiere / Arena - Bundesliga)
McDermott Will & Emery (Düsseldorf)
Background Premiere AG (“Premiere”) is the leading German Pay-TV operator. One of the main features of Premiere’s program are live broadcastings of football events. Over the last years, this included in particular broadcastings of the German Bundesliga (football league). However, in September (...)

The Polish Competition Court confirms the National Competition Authority’s decision finding that an "English clause" in an agreement between a pay-TV operator and a football association restricted competition (Canal+ / Polish Football Association)
Greenberg Traurig Grzesiak (Warsaw)
The Polish Competition Court confirms the NCA’s decision finding that an "English clause" in an agreement between a pay-TV operator and a football association restricted competition, but halves a 440 000 PLN (110 000 EUR ) fine on the football association by upholding a 7.37 million PLN (1.84 (...)

The Metropolitan Court of Budapest applies for the first time both EU and national competition law while sanctioning an exclusive ticketing agreement (Budapest Sports Stadium)
Bassola (Budapest)
This case was among the first in which EC competition law was applied by a Hungarian court. In October 2006 the Metropolitan Court of Budapest had rejected the appeals of the plaintiffs, and thus confirmed the legal assessment of the decision of the Competition Council of the Hungarian (...)

The Cypriot Competition Authority finds that regulations imposed by the Cyprus Football Federation regarding the transfer of players’ contracts do not violate competition law (Cypriot Football Players Association / Costas Makelos / Angelos Euthimiou)
Amarla Retail (Athens)
The complaint The Cypriot Commission for the Protection of Competition (hereinafter: the “Commission”) received a complaint by the Cypriot Football Players Association(hereinafter: the “CFPA”) and two professional football players, Costas Makelos and Angelos Euthimiou, considering the regulations (...)

The Brussels Court of Appeal upholds the Competition Authority’s decision holding that the exclusive joint selling of football television rights is not infringing Art. 81.1 EC (Jupiler League / Belgacom Skynet)
Leuven University
Relevant facts On 9 May 2005, the LBV, a joint selling body with the exclusive right to sell TV broadcasting rights of the Jupiler League on behalf of the participating football clubs, had awarded all the packages of rights to Belgacom Skynet. Telenet, Belgacom’s competitor on the Belgian (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority rejects a complaint on alleged discriminatory licensing practices from the national football union (URBSFA)
BECI (Brussels)
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Liège University
The Parties SA Tilleur-Liège is a company which main activity was the management of a football team (Tilleur-Liège). It went in bankruptcy in 2004. The URBSFA (Union Royale Belge des Sociétés Football Association) is responsible for the organization of football events in Belgium. It holds (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority finds an exclusivity clause has an effect on trade between Member States and may distort competition in the sport events sector (Aréna / Multimédia Light and Sound / Ticketpro)
Hogan Lovells (Budapest)
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Hogan Lovells (Budapest)
Background Aréna Üzemelteto Rt. received the right from the Hungarian State to be the controlling company of the Budapest Sports Stadium (hereinafter: the Budapest Sports Stadium). Aréna was, at the time of the investigation, an affiliate of the French Bouygues group. Multimédia Light and Sound (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority concludes that the agreements offered by the Budapest Sports Stadium are capable of distorting competition and have the potential of infringing Art. 81 EC (Arena Uzemelteto / Multimedia Light and Sound / Ticketpro)
KNP Law (Budapest)
The Budapest Sports Arena (BSA), a 12,000 seating capacity, state of the art, multifunctional sports and entertainment complex was first opened to the public in March 2003. It was built on the place of the Budapest Sports Hall, which was completely destroyed in a devastating fire five years (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority concludes that the joint selling of media rights is in line with the decision practice of the EU Commission and is not infringing Art. 81(1) EC (Jupiler League / Belgacom Skynet)
Leuven University
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Leuven University
On 29 July 2005 the Belgian Competition Council approved the award of TV broadcasting rights by the Liga Beroepsvoetbal (“LBV”) to Belgacom Skynet, since there was no infringement of Art. 81 EC. The Council has found that the broadcasting rights of matches of the Belgian first (and second) (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upholds the finding of the FTC that the prohibition of discounts and advertising was inherently suspect as they would tend to raise prices and reduce output (PolyGram)
Sheppard Mullin (Los Angeles)
DC Circuit Hits High Note In “Three Tenors” Case – Petition For Review Of FTC Decision In Polygram Holding, Inc. Denied* On July 22, 2005, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied a petition for review filed by PolyGram Holding, Inc. In so doing, the DC Circuit, in an (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal confirms that indirect contact between competing retailers via a mutual supplier can amount to concerted practices and that recommended retail prices may lead to price fixing (Replica Football Kit)
British Institute of International and Comparative Law (London)
This case comment falls in two parts : Part I comments upon the judgment on liability, and Part II comments upon the judgment on penalty. PART I: JUDGMENT ON LIABILITY THE PARTIES Appellants: JJB Sports PLC (“JJB”) and Allsports Limited (“Allsports”). Respondent: The Office of Fair Trading (...)

The EU Commission adopts its first commitment decision pursuant to Article 9 of Regulation 1/2003 concerning joint selling of German football media rights (Bundesliga)
DG COMP (Brussels)
"Joint selling of Bundesliga media rights — first Commission decision pursuant to Article 9 of Regulation 1/2003"* Introduction On 19 January 2005 the Commission adopted the first commitment decision pursuant to Article 9 of Regulation 1/2003. In case COMP/C-2/37.214 — Joint selling of the (...)

The EU Commission adopts a formal decision exempting the joint selling of the media rights of an international football tournament (UEFA Champions League)
DG COMP (Brussels)
"Football: joint selling of media rights"* 1. Introduction On 23 July 2003, the Commission adopted a formal decision exempting the joint selling of the media rights of the UEFA Champions League. The Commission concluded that the joint selling of the TV, internet and mobile telephone content (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit applies a “quick look” rule of reason analysis and ultimately rejects an association-wide salary cap imposed on a position within each member organization in the college basketball industry (Law / NCAA)
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld (Dallas)
The U.S. Tenth Circuit struck down an NCAA-wide salary cap imposed on the earnings of “restricted-earnings” coaches as an unreasonable restraint of trade. Instead of applying per se illegality to a price-fixing agreement, the Court determined that a “quick look” rule of reason was more appropriate (...)

The OECD holds a roundtable on competition issues related to sports
OECD - Competition Division (Paris)
Satellite television with dedicated sports channels considerably increased the market for sports broadcasts. Sports bodies and event organisers perceive that they have market power to influence competition among TV channels and the market for sports equipment. Sports federations and leagues (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit devotes prevailing application of labor law in labor practices that restrain competition in sports (National Basketball Association / L Williams)
Infinitum Legal Services (Istanbul)
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Infinitum Legal Services (Istanbul)
The NBA v. Williams case (45 F.3d 684 (2d Cir. 1995), by the US court of Appeals is one of the rare cases in which the lawfulness of the practice of ‘multiemployer bargaining’, traditionally governed by labor law, challenged fundamental competition law principles, stemming from the Sherman Act (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirms a jury’s verdict that an agreement entered by competitive sports teams constitute an unreasonable restraint of trade in the market for professional football teams and their home stadiums (LA Mem’l Coliseum Comm’n / NFL)
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld (Dallas)
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, applying a rule of reason analysis, affirmed a jury verdict that an agreement between NFL teams requiring a 2/3 vote before allowing one team to move within the home territory of another team violated the Sherman Act, Section 1. Rejecting the NFL’s arguments, (...)

The Irish Competition Authority assesses the prices and exclusive provisions of major entertainment events tickets reseller on the basis of both national and EU competition laws (TicketMaster Ireland)
London School of Economics
The National Competition Authority has rejected allegations that TicketMaster (hereinafter “TicketMaster”) Ireland is abusing its dominant position through excessive pricing and that its exclusive contractual relations with certain promoters constitute infringements of Art 81 EC and its domestic (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Belgian Competition Authority imposes interim measures against a sport’s association because of its anticompetitive rules (Belgian Bumper Pool Association)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
Interim measure imposed on the Belgian Bumper Pool Association concerning the bumper pool balls that may be played with in competitions and matches* At the request of HCSB BVBA (manufacturer of bumper pool balls), the Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) has imposed (...)

The Croatian Competition Authority finds that the national taekwondo federation did not abuse of its dominant position (Hrvatskog taekwondo saveza)
Croatian Competition Agency (Zagreb)
Croatian Taekwondo Federation did not abuse dominant position* The Croatian Competition Agency (CCA) found that the latter that was sent by the Croatian Taekwondo Federation (CTF) to all its members including the complainant – the undertaking LMK, potentially limited access only to a smaller (...)

The German Competition Authority announces that two sports committee committed to enlarge the advertising opportunities for German athletes during the Olympic Games (IOC / DOSB)
Bird & Bird (Düsseldorf)
On 27 February 2019, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) issued a press release announcing that the German Olympic Sports Confederation (“DOSB”) and the International Olympic Committee (“IOC”) committed to enlarge the advertising opportunities for German athletes during the Olympic Games. This (...)

The Egyptian Economic Court fines the President and the Secretary General of a sports association for abuse of dominance regarding an exclusive licensing agreement (Confederation of African Football)
Egyptian Competition Authority (Cairo)
Economic Court has Fined Mr. Isaa Hayatou (President of CAF) and Mr. Hicham El Amrani (Secretary General of CAF) 500 Million EGP Each*
 Background of the case: 
January 3rd 2017, the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) requested the Prosecutor’s Office to press criminal charges pursuant to (...)

The Egyptian Competition Authority orders interim measures against a football organization which granted exclusive rights in absence of fair, or transparent or non-discriminatory tendering procedures (FIFA)
Egyptian Competition Authority (Cairo)
The ECA orders interim measures against the FIFA to make available on free-to-air terrestrial channels the 2018 World Cup Russia* The ECA has ordered interim measures against FIFA based on prima facie finding of infringements to articles 7 and 8 of the Egyptian competition law as it was (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority fines equestrian competition organizers for lack of implementation of provisional measures (Fédération Equestre Internationale / GCT / GCL)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Competition College of the BCA imposed penalty payments on the FEI, the SPRL Global Champions League and the SPRL Tops Trading Belgium* The Competition College of the BCA has imposed on 13 April 2018 penalty payments on the Fédération Equestre Internationale, the SPRL Global Champions League (...)

The Cairo Economic Court upholds the recommendation of the Egyptian Competition Authority and fines a TV broadcasting company for abusive bundling of international football events (Nasser Al-Khulaifi / beIN Media)
First Principles Economics (London)
The Cairo Economic Court upholds the recommendation of the Egyptian Competition Agency and fines a TV broadcasting company for abusive bundling of international football events (Nasser Al-Khulaifi / beIN Media) On 29th January 2018 the Cairo Economic Court found that beIN had abused its (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority imposes interim measures in the context of competitions of the global champions tour (GCT)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Competition College of the BCA imposes interim measures in the context of competitions of the Global Champions Tour* The Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) has imposed on 20 December 2017 interim measures on the organisers of the Global Champions Tour (GCT), the (...)

The German Competition Authority terminates its administrative proceeding against a national sports association suspected of abuse of dominance (DFB - German Football Association)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
DFB eases conditions for purchase of tickets for World Cup 2018* The Bundeskartellamt has terminated its administrative proceeding against the German Football Association (DFB) which it had initiated on the suspicion that the association had abused its dominant position. Before this DFB had (...)

The Indian Competition Authority reinstates fine against the national governing body for cricket for abuse of dominance and granting of exclusive licenses (Board of Control for Cricket in India)
Vaish (New Delhi)
CCI re- imposes penalty of INR 52.24 crores on BCCI for abuse of dominance* The Competition Commission of India (“Commission/CCI”) vide its Order dated November 29, 2017 has re-imposed the penalty of INR 52.24 Crores on the Board of Control for Cricket in India (“BCCI”) after fresh inquiry that (...)

The EU Commission sends a statement of objections to an international sports association suspected to have breached EU antitrust rules (International Skating Union)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission sends Statement of Objections to International Skating Union on its eligibility rules* The European Commission has informed the International Skating Union (ISU) of its preliminary view that the ISU rules under which athletes face severe penalties for participation in (...)

The German Competition Authority approves marketing model for the award of football championship rights from 2017/18 season onwards (DFL)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt approves marketing model for award of Bundesliga rights from 2017/18 football season onwards – DFL undertakes for first time to observe ’no single buyer’ rule* The German League Association and the German Football League (DFL) have submitted a commitment to the Bundeskartellamt (...)

The Indian Competition Authority opens investigation into abuse of dominance by national athletics association (Department of Sports / Athletics Federation of India)
Vaish (New Delhi)
CCI directs investigation against Athletics Federation of India (AFI) for abuse of dominance* CCI by its order dated March 16, 2016 has ordered detailed investigation against AFI for restricting organisation of marathons without permission for AFI. The case has been referred by the Department (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upholds that a college athletics association’s restrictions on compensation should be subject to antitrust scrutiny (O’Bannon / NCAA)
Constantine Cannon (New York)
NCCA Gains Ground Against Student-Athletes In Appeal Of O’Bannon Case* Last week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the NCAA may restrict colleges from compensating student-athletes beyond the cost of attendance, handing the NCAA a partial victory in its (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority provisionally suspends an exclusivity clause of the general regulations of an international equestrian federation (FEI)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority imposed on 27 July 2015 on the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) as a provisional measure the partial suspension with regard to the Global Champions League of the Exclusivity Clause in the article 113(4)-(6) of its General (...)

The Lisbon Court of Appeal upholds the decision of the Portuguese Competition Authority against a sport channels for abuse of dominance in the market of conditional-access premium sports TV channels (Sport TV)
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
Portuguese Competition Authority’s decision against Sport TV confirmed by the Lisbon Court of Appeal* The Lisbon Court of Appeal confirmed the Portuguese Competition Authority’s (PCA) decision against Sport TV for abusing its dominant position in the market of conditional-access premium sports (...)

The Higher Regional Court of Munich holds that the arbitration clause used by the International Skating Union referring all challenges to the Court of Arbitration of Sport was in breach of German competition law (Pechstein)
Hogan Lovells (Munich)
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Berlin)
I. The Facts In 2009 Ms. Claudia Pechstein, a successful German speed skater, was banned by the International Skating Union (ISU) from all skating competitions for two years. Ms. Pechstein had tested positive in a doping control that was held during the ISU skating world cup in Norway. The (...)

The French Competition Authority orders interim measures against a TV company on the exclusive rights for the broadcasting of Top 14 matches market (Canal Plus / beIN Sports)
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
Broadcasting rights for the French Rugby 1st Division Championship* Following a referral by beIN Sports, the Autorité de la concurrence suspends the agreement concluded between the French Rugby national League and Group Canal Plus which awarded the latter exclusive rights for the broadcasting (...)

The French Competition Authority fines an owner of sports newspapers for implementing eviction practices in sports press sector (Le 10Sport.com / Les Éditions Philippe Amaury)
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence has fined the Groupe Amaury for having driven out of the market a new entrant in the sports press – Le 10Sport.com* The Autorité de la concurrence has fined Les Éditions Philippe Amaury (hereinafter the Groupe Amaury) an amount of 3.5 million euro for having (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority fines a TV sports channel for abuse of dominance (Sport TV)
Sérvulo & Associados (Lisbon)
On 6 June 2013, the Portuguese Competition Authority (Autoridade da Concorrência, AdC) sanctioned Sport TV Portugal, S.A. (hereinafter, “Sport TV”), for an alleged abuse of its dominant position in the Portuguese market for TV access to premium sports content, in violation of article 6 (abuse of (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority imposes a fine of € 3.73 M on a TV operator for having abused its dominant position on the market for access to premium sports content (Sport TV)
University of Harvard - Law School (Cambridge)
On 6 June 2013, the Portuguese Competition Authority (“PCA”) imposed a fine of € 3.73 million on Sport TV Portugal for having abused its dominant position on the market for access to premium sports content by signing discriminatory distribution agreements with pay- TV operators between (...)

The Finnish Market Court finds no error by the Competition Authority in not investigating alleged abuse by national sports federation (Suomen Ampumaurheiluliitto)
University of Helsinki
The Finnish Market Court has found that a decision by the national Competition Authority to dismiss a complaint about a sports federation was appropriate. X, a Finnish shooting sports athlete, had filed a complaint (a request for investigation) with the Finnish Competition Authority, submitting (...)

The Indian Competition Authority finds no abuse of dominance by the hockey regulator (Sh. Dhanraj Pillay)
King’s College (London)
Shortly after the BCCI case (In Re BCCI Case No. 61/2010), the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has taken another decision against a national sports federation. In Sh. Dhanraj Pillay and Others v. Hockey India (Case No. 73/2011) the central issue was Hockey India’s (HI) alleged abuse of its (...)

The Indian Competition Authority fines the board for control of cricket approximately USD 10 M for abuse of dominant position (BCCI)
University College London
The Competition Commission of India, in response to a complaint filed by Mr. Surinder Singh Barni, against the Board for Control of Cricket in India(BCCI) for abuse of dominant position with respect to professional league cricket tournament, has issued a cease and desist order against BCCI (...)

The Indian Competition Authority finds abuse of dominance by the cricket regulator (Board of Control for Cricket in India)
Sonam Mathur (New Delhi)
The Competition Commission of India (“CCI”) recently imposed a fine of INR 54.24 crore (approx. USD 10 million) on the Board for Control of Cricket in India (“BCCI”). The CCI found the BCCI to be in a dominant position in the market for organizing private professional league cricket in India and (...)

The French Competition Authority renders legally binding some commitments offered to solve competition concerns raised in the distribution of insurance products to golfers (Eurogolf / Fédération Française de Golf)
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence makes the commitments proposed by the ’Fédération Française de Golf’ mandatory. Golf players (or licensees) may take out insurance of their choice, which may differ from that offered by the federation*. Following a complaint in April 2012 by the company Eurogolf (...)

The Swedish Market Court annuls interim order prohibiting the ice hockey league association from boycotting players from north America’s hockey league (Svenska Hockeyligan)
European Commission (Brussels)
Sweden: The Competition Authority’s Interim Order prohibiting Hockeyligan from boycotting NHL Players annulled by Swedish Market Court* On 18 December 2012, the Swedish Market Court (the Court) has annulled the Swedish Competition Authority’s (SCA) interim order prohibiting the Swedish ice (...)

The US District Court for the District of Minnesota dismisses an antitrust complaint on the basis that copyright owners may exclude others from using even portions of their work in the market for footage of professional football games (Washington / NFL)
Loeb & Loeb (New York)
,
Loeb & Loeb (Los Angeles)
,
Loeb & Loeb (Los Angeles)
Plaintiffs Gene Washington, Diron Talbert, and Sean Lumpkin, former professional football players, brought a class action suit against the National Football League and a number of affiliated entities, including each of the 32 NFL teams, alleging that the NFL defendants, by constraining (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines a company and its subsidiary for abuse of dominant position in the market of resale of audiovisual retransmission of Spanish football clubs (Mediapro / Gol Tv)
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
Mediapro holds the broadcasting rights for the Spanish first division league (Liga) and King’s Cup (Copa de S.M. el Rey) for 2009/2010 and subsequent seasons. Therefore Mediapro has a dominant position in the market for the resale of broadcasting rights. Furthermore, Mediapro is (...)

The Italian Competition Authority starts an investigation against a media producer and distributor for infringement of Art. 102 TFUE and national equivalent (RTI / Sky)
Codacons (Rome)
Sky Italia s.r.l. is controlled by News Corporation Ltd active on the media market, whose activity includes production and distribution of movies, tv show, newspaper, books and magazines’publication. (Reti Televisive Italiane) RTI S.p.A belongs to Mediaset Group, which controls the three main (...)

The Italian Competition Authority starts an investigation in the market of football audiovisual rights for an alleged infringement of Art. 102 TFEU (RTI / Sky)
Luiss Guido Carli University (Rome)
On 3 November 2010, the Italian Competition Authority opened an investigation in the market of football audiovisual rights for an alleged abuse of dominant position, contrary to Article 102 TFEU (Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union). I. Parties of the Case SKY ITALIA (hereinafter, (...)

The Tribunal of Milan rejects a request for injunctive relief against the Italian soccer association for illegitimate award procedures of TV rights for the live broadcast of soccer matches (Conto TV / Lega Calcio)
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
,
Luiss Guido Carli University (Rome)
,
Luiss Guido Carli University (Rome)
CONTO TV S.r.l. (CONTO TV) is a small broadcasting company operating satellite TV in Italy. LEGA CALCIO is the Italian Soccer Association, entrusted by the Italian law (Law no. 106/2007 and Legislative Decree n. 9/2008) with the task of selling soccer matches audio-television rights of its (...)

An Italian Regional Administrative Tribunal annuls a decision from the NCA for the ineffectiveness of the undertakings imposed to address the competition concerns raised on the market for broadcasting rights of football matches (Conto TV)
Rohatyn (New York)
The Regional Administrative Tribunal for Lazio annuls a decision from the Italian Competition Authority for the ineffectiveness of the undertakings and forces the Authority to restart the proceedings and repeat the market test on the basis of the 287/1990 and 241/1990 laws and the EU Regulation (...)

An Italian Court of Appeal annuls its precedent injunctive relief against the soccer association for illegitimate award procedures of TV rights for live broadcasts of soccer matches (Conto TV / Lega Calcio)
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
,
Luiss Guido Carli University (Rome)
,
Luiss Guido Carli University (Rome)
Introduction CONTO TV S.r.l. (CONTO TV) is a small broadcasting company operating satellite TV in Italy. LEGA CALCIO is the Italian Soccer Association, entrusted by the Italian law with the task of selling soccer matches audio-television rights of its associates, Serie A and B clubs. On July (...)

The Polish President of the Competition Authority accepts commitments submitted by satellite pay-TV platform regarding the use of exclusive sports media rights (Cyfrowy Polsat)
Polish Competition Authority (Warsaw)
,
Polish Competition Authority (Warsaw)
Decision On 12 February 2010, the President of the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection (OCCP) issued a decision which rendered plausible that Cyfrowy Polsat (pay-TV operator) had abused its dominant position by selling rights for public broadcasting of Euro 2008 subject to acquire (...)

The Italian Court of Appeal in Milan issues an injunctive relief against the national football league for illegitimate award procedures of TV rights for live broadcasts of soccer matches (Conto TV / Lega Calcio)
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
,
Luiss Guido Carli University (Rome)
,
Luiss Guido Carli University (Rome)
Introduction CONTO TV S.r.l. (CONTO TV) is a small broadcasting company operating satellite TV in Italy. LEGA CALCIO is the Italian Soccer Association, entrusted by the Italian law (Law n. 106/2007 and Legislative Decree n. 9/2008) with the task of selling soccer matches audio-television rights (...)

The Italian Competition Authority accepts commitments from the official federation operating in the market of sport motoring and closes proceedings without imposing sanctions (Gargano Corse / ACI)
Luiss Guido Carli University (Rome)
On 11 June 2009, the Italian Competition Authority (hereinafter, also the "Authority") closed proceedings in the sport motoring market accepting the commitments presented by the official federation and without imposing fines. Legal Background Investigation had previously started against ACI (...)

The German District Court of Dortmund holds that the refusal to grant a horse riding license can constitute an abuse of a dominant position within the meaning of Art. 82 EC (The doped horse)
Blomstein (Berlin)
Background and Decision On 22 January 2009, the District Court of Dortmund (Landgericht Dortmund) granted injunctive relief to a German show jumper who resided in the Netherlands and was an employee of a Dutch horse riding stable. He was also riding his own horses and was n° 13 of the global (...)

The Italian Competition Authority accepts commitments from the federation for the equestrian sport and closes proceedings for alleged infringement of Art. 81 and/or 82 EC without imposing fines (Federitalia / Federazione Italiana Sport Equestri)
Luiss Guido Carli University (Rome)
On 15 May 2008, the Italian Competition Authority (hereinafter, also the “Authority” or “AGCM”) closed investigations in the market concerning the organization of equestrian sports events, without imposing sanctions and accepting the committments presented. Investigation started against FISE (...)

The US District Court for the Southern District of New York finds that an association demanding its members to combine their websites into one unified website does not constitute an unreasonable restraint of trade in the hockey industry (Madison Square Garden / NHL)
Entwistle & Cappucci (New York)
,
Epstein Baker Green (Newark)
,
Ferro Labella & Zucker (New Jersey)
The Southern District of New York recently denied Madison Square Garden L.P.’s ("MSG") attempt to enjoin the National Hockey League (the "NHL") from transferring MSG’s Rangers team website to a server primarily run by the NHL. The Court found that seizing MSG’s website was not a naked restraint on (...)

The Belgian Commercial Court in Liege holds as abusive a refusal to let a team participate in important cycling races (GCA / ASO)
Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
,
NautaDutilh (Luxembourg)
Factual background On 23 April 2007 the commercial court of Liège (“Tribunal de commerce”) handed down a decision in a case between the Swedish cycling team Green Cycle Associates (“GCA”) and Amaury Sport Organisation (“ASO”). ASO is a French undertaking that organises several major cycling events, (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines a bowling association €8 000 for abuse against independent bowling clubs concerning audiovisual rights (Emisión de Partidos de Bolos)
London School of Economics
The Spanish Bowling Association (hereinafter, the “FEB”) is a non-profit association in charge of the organisation and the regulation of bowling tournaments in Spain. Participation in the different tournaments organised by the FEB requires a licence delivered by this association. Bowling can be (...)

The Italian Competition Authority closes proceedings for alleged breach of Art. 82 EC following commitments made by the undertaking on the audiovisual rights market (Mediaset / Diritti Calcistici II)
London School of Economics
Background and procedure The present case note concerns the follow-up of a decision to open proceedings adopted by the Italian NCA in March 2005 that was commented in a previous issue of e-Competitions (P. Ibañez Colomo, “ The Italian competition authority opens proceedings against Reti (...)

The Polish Competition Authority fines a sports newspaper €500 000 for unfair and abusive prices (Marquard Media Polska)
French National Research Agency - ANR (Paris)
On June 12, 2006 the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (hereafter : OCCP President) rendered his final decision concerning the practices of the publisher Marquard Media Polska Sp. z o. o. (hereafter : Marquard Media). This decision terminates the antimonopoly (...)

The Maltese Competition Authority takes interim measures in order to suspend restrictive practices in the transmission and retransmission of leading sport events sector (Melita Cable)
Sciberras & Lia (Valletta)
In terms of Article 15 of Maltese Competition Act (Chapter 379 of Laws of Malta, hereinafter referred to as ‘MCA’), the Director of the Office for Fair Trading (hereinafter referred to as ‘Director’) requested the Commission for Fair Trading (hereinafter referred to as ‘Commission’) to take interim (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority fines the Association Sportive Automobile Francophone for an abuse of dominant position relating to sporting rules (ETE-KILT / ASAF)
BECI (Brussels)
,
Liège University
Background The present case was initiated by two Dunlop tires distributors which complained about alleged anti-competitive sporting regulations on the part of a Belgian sporting organisation in the field of kart racing. The “Association Sportive Automobile Francophone” (“ASAF”) is a non-profit (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice holds that the rights holder of the Bundesliga football matches did not abuse of its dominant position by asking a radio to pay a fee for live broadcasting (Ligaverband)
McDermott Will & Emery (Düsseldorf)
Background The plaintiff operates a local radio station in Hamburg. The defendant, the Ligaverband, holds the marketing rights for all football matches of the Bundesliga, the German football league. Until 2001, the plaintiff broadcasted during its regular programmes short live reports from (...)

The French Competition Authority accepts commitments to address competition concerns in the equine reproduction market (Haras nationaux)
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
The Conseil de la concurrence has accepted the commitments proposed by the "Haras Nationaux" and decided to close the legal proceedings. The “Haras Nationaux” have undertaken to introduce analytical accounting procedures to distinguish clearly between trading activities and administrative (...)

The Czech Competition Authority condemns a major Czech winter sports centre for abuse of dominant position (Skiareal Spindleruv Mlyn)
Czech Ministry of Justice (Prague)
The Office for Protection of Competition of the Czech Republic (“the Office”) confirmed, on appeal, its previous decision in which it found that “Skiareal Spindleruv Mlyn, a.s.” (“Skiareal”), the operator of a major Czech winter sport centre, had abused its dominant position by applying dissimilar (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit rules out prevailing of copyright and bases its analysis exclusively on competition law (Morris Communications / PGA Tour)
Infinitum Legal Services (Istanbul)
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Infinitum Legal Services (Istanbul)
Over the last years, the relationship between sports and media has evolved in an unprecedented manner. Broadcasting packages now consist of many different rights such as highlights packages, mobile phone rights and Internet packages. Due to this significant enlargement in commercial sports (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirms a nominal jury verdict of $1 for illegal monopolization by a professional football league (USFL / NFL)
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld (Dallas)
The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a jury verdict awarding the U.S. Football League (“USFL”) only $1 in nominal damages against the National Football League (“NFL”) and agreed with the jury’s finding that the NFL did not engage in exclusionary conduct through its agreements with (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit remands a case due to the lower court’s provision of several incorrect jury instructions and failure to instruct on the “essential facilities” doctrine in a case affecting the market for major-league professional football (Hecht / Pro Football)
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld (Dallas)
The U.S. District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals remanded a jury verdict in a case between a potential franchisor and the operator of the Washington Redskins football team because the lower court improperly instructed the jury on a number of issues. This Court determined that the lower (...)

Mergers

The UK Competition Authority blocks a sports-fashion retailer acquisition finding that even with COVID-19 significantly impacting the relevant sector, the transaction would lead to a substantial lessening of competition nationally (JD Sports / Foot asylum) Free
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 6 May 2020, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) blocked the sports-fashion retailer JD Sports’ already completed purchase of sportswear retailer Foot- asylum. The CMA concluded that the parties were close competitors and the transaction would lead to a substan- tial lessening of (...)

The UK Competition Authority blocks sports-fashion merger finding that even with COVID-19 significantly impacting the relevant sector there would still be negative effects on the competition if the merger proceeded (JD Sports / Footasylum) Free
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA blocks sports-fashion merger* The CMA has blocked JD Sports’ purchase of close competitor Footasylum after finding it would leave shoppers worse off. Following an in-depth Phase 2 investigation, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has concluded that this transaction would lead to a (...)

The UK Competition Authority considers that a merger in the sports fashion market raises competition concerns (JD Sports / Footasylum)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Sports fashion merger raises competition concerns* The CMA has found that JD Sports’ takeover of close competitor Footasylum could be bad for shoppers. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is concerned that the loss of competition brought about by the merger could result in a worse deal (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger on the market for the transfer of professional players, which had never been defined before by decision-making practice (OGC Nice / Ineos)
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
Professional football* The Autorité de la concurrence clears the acquisition of OGC Nice by Ineos On 22 July 2019, Ineos notified the Autorité de la concurrence of its plan to acquire control of SASP Olympique Gymnaste Club de Nice Côte d’Azur, which manages the OGC Nice football club. By a (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority clears the acquisition of a Belgian football club by an investment company (Royal Sporting Club Anderlecht / Alychlo)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
THE BELGIAN COMPETITION AUTHORITY APPROVES THE ACQUISITION OF ROYAL SPORTING CLUB ANDERLECHT BY ALYCHLO* The Investigation and Prosecution Service of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) has approved on 28 March 2018 the acquisition of Royal Sporting Club Anderlecht by Alychlo. The (...)

The Australian Supreme Court of Victoria approves an $11 billion merger in the entertainment sector (Tabcorp / Tatts)
Herbert Smith Freehills (Melbourne)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Sydney)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Sydney)
On 13 December 2017, the $11 billion merger between Tabcorp Holdings Ltd (Tabcorp) and Tatts Group Ltd (Tatts) became effective upon Supreme Court approval. Final implementation is scheduled to occur today in what has been one of the longest-running transactions in recent Australian corporate (...)

The Australian Competition Authority does not seek judicial review of the National Competition Tribunal’s authorisation of a merger in the entertainment sector (Tabcorp / Tatts)
Herbert Smith Freehills (Melbourne)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Sydney)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Sydney)
CrownBet and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) have confirmed that they will not be seeking judicial review of the Australian Competition Tribunal’s authorisation of Tabcorp Holdings Limited’s (Tabcorp’s) acquisition of Tatts Group Limited (Tatts), paving the way for the (...)

The Australian Competition Tribunal publishes its reasons for granting the merger authorisation in the entertainment sector (Tabcorp / Tatts)
Herbert Smith Freehills (Sydney)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Sydney)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Melbourne)
The Australian Competition Tribunal has now published its reasons for granting authorisation to Tabcorp Holdings Limited to acquire Tatts (see our original legal briefing here). Herbert Smith Freehills acted for Tabcorp in its successful merger authorisation application. To authorise the (...)

The Australian Competition Authority gives undertaking the green light to proceed with its $11 bn merger after the granting authorisation to acquire shares as set out in their merger implementation deed (Tabcorp / Tatts)
Herbert Smith Freehills (Sydney)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Sydney)
On Tuesday the Australian Competition Tribunal gave Tabcorp Holdings Limited (Tabcorp), represented by Herbert Smith Freehills, the green light to proceed with its $11 billion merger with Tatts after the granting authorisation to acquire shares in Tatts Group Limited as set out in their Merger (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority approves under strict conditions an acquisition of a retail service organization by its competitor (Intres / Euretco Holding)
VVGB (Brussels)
,
VVGB (Brussels)
On the 27 of June 2012, the Dutch Competition Authority approved under strict conditions the acquisition of Intres B.V. by Euretco Holding B.V.. I. The Parties The Dutch undertaking Euretco Holding B.V., which is part of Avedon Capital Partners The Dutch undertaking Intres B.V. II. Facts The (...)

The Brussels Court of Appeal confirms Competition Council’s decision amending condition imposed on cable network operator’s acquisition of pay-TV provider (Telenet / Canal+)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In a judgment of 17 May 2011, the Brussels Court of Appeal confirmed the Belgian Competition Council’s decision of 29 November 2010 amending a condition that had been imposed in 2003 on cable network operator Telenet’s acquisition of pay-TV provider Canal+. The condition in question (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority clears in phase II a merger in the sports media rights sector subject to third party access to football broadcasting rights and limitation on the contracts’ length (Sogecable / AVS)
PwC (Madrid)
The operation The transaction involved Sogecable SA acquiring sole control over Audiovisual Sport SL (AVS). AVS was jointly controlled by Sogecable (80%) and TVC (20%). TVC had veto rights over certain strategic decisions, whose approval required 85% of the equity. The transaction involved (...)

The EU Commission approves, subject to divestiture, an acquisition in the motor sports sector (CVC / SLEC)
JG Associates (Brussels)
,
DG COMP (Brussels)
"Mergers — Main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2006"* On 31 January 2006 CVC notified its proposal to acquire sole control of SLEC. SLEC is a holding company owning all the rights in the Formula One Group. CVC is already active in the field of motor sports through its subsidiary (...)

The EU Commission conditionally clears a merger in the winter sports goods manufacturing and selling (Amer / Salomon)
JG Associates (Brussels)
,
DG COMP (Brussels)
"Merger Control: Main Developments between 1 September and 31 December 2005"* On 12 October the Commission approved, subject to conditions, the proposed acquisition by Amer Group of the Salomon business segment of Germany’s Adidas-Salomon AG. Amer had entered into an agreement to acquire the (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority clears in phase II with multiple behavioural remedies a merger in the TV sector, the Council of Ministries having established the definitive set of remedies (Sogecable / Vía Digita)
PwC (Madrid)
The operation The merger involved Sogecable’s acquisition of DTS, which operated the pay TV platform Vía Digital. The merger would also increase Sogecable’s stake in AVS to 80%. Sogecable is a pay TV operator with activities in Spain through its subsidiaries Canal+ España (analogical pay TV) and (...)

The EU Commission authorises, subject to remedies, the participation of a UK Broadcaster in the pay-tv operator in Germany (BSkyB / KirchPayTV)
DG COMP (Brussels)
"The Commission’s assessment of the participation of BSkyB in the pay-tv operator in germany"* Pay-TV KirchPayTV has a virtual monopoly on the German pay-TV market, although with a loss making business. BSkyB adds a very successful pay-TV company, with experience of digital interactive TV (...)

State Aid

The EU General Court annuls the EU Commission’s decision that a football club received over €20m in unlawful State aid (Valencia Club)
Oxera (Brussels)
The General Court has annulled the European Commission’s decision that Valencia Club de Fútbol (Valencia CF) received over €20m in unlawful state aid. Oxera undertook the financial analysis that supported Valencia CF’s appeal to the General Court, and which underpinned the annulment of the European (...)

The EU General Court annuls the Commission’s decision ordering Spain to recover €18 million of incompatible State aid (Real Madrid)
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
,
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
,
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
On 22 May 2019, the General Court rendered its judgment on the action for annulment filed by Real Madrid against the Commission Decision of 4 July 2018 that (i) declared that the football club had been granted incompatible State aid worth EUR 18 million; and (ii) ordered Spain to recover this (...)

The EU Court of Justice and the General Court render two judgments on State aid showing how the Courts approach a judicial review of complex economic assessments when the burden of proof is on the Commission (Frucona Kosice / Fútbol Club Barcelona)
Garrigues (Brussels)
EU Judicial Review: Major Antitrust Implications of Recent State Aid Cases* We competition lawyers often wrongly approach our discipline in isolation from the wider context in which it is applied. This is also true when it comes to judicial review. We tend to forget that antitrust is only a (...)

The EU General Court annuls the Commission’s State aid decision concerning a Spanish tax regime (Athletic Club)
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
,
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
,
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
In 2016, the Commission adopted a decision declaring that four Spanish professional football clubs (i.e., Fútbol Club Barcelona, Club Atlético Osasuna, Athletic Club and Real Madrid Club de Fútbol) had received incompatible state aid in the form of corporate tax privileges. As a consequence, Spain (...)

The EU Commission decides that a Danish levy intended to liberalise the horse racing sector is compatible with State aid rules (Denmark - aid scheme for horse racing sector)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on StateAidHub: http://stateaidhub.eu, republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

The EU Commission finds that Danish support for local sports associations is not State aid and that, if it were, it would be compatible according to the General Block Exemption Regulation (Denmark / Support to local sports associations)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on StateAidHub: http://stateaidhub.eu, republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

The EU General Court affirms a Commission’s decision that aid granted to German climbing centers is compatible with the internal market, finding that the Commission’s economic analysis was sufficient (Magic Mountain Kletterhallen)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on StateAidHub: http://stateaidhub.eu, republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

The EU General Court upholds the Commission’s decision, finding that aid measures that target consumers with particular needs not adequately provided by the market do not unduly distort competition (Hamr / Sport)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on StateAidHub: http://stateaidhub.eu, republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

The EU Commission finds a measure helping an outdoor training centre not to constitute State aid for lack of affectation of interstate trade, based on the local origin of users (Glenmore Lodge)
College of Europe (Bruges)
SA.37963: Glenmore Lodge, UK* At the end of April, the European Commission announced that seven measures were found not to constitute State aid because they could not be reasonably expected to affect cross-border trade. The finding of no affectation of trade is rare. That seven measures were (...)

The EU Commission finds a measure not to constitute State aid because the services provided occurs at a local level and is thus unlikely to attract customers from other Member States to any meaningful degree (Community Amateur Sports Clubs)
College of Europe (Bruges)
SA.38208: Member-owned golf clubs, UK* At the end of April, the European Commission announced that seven measures were found not to constitute State aid because they could not be reasonably expected to affect cross-border trade. The finding of no affectation of trade is rare. That seven (...)

The EU Commission applies for the first time the General Block Exemption Regulation to sport infrastructures and holds that their public funding may constitute State aid (Kristall Bäder)
College of Europe (Bruges)
The First Application of the New GBER to Sport Infrastructure* Public funding of local sport infrastructure may constitute State aid. The granting of a concession contract for the construction and/or operation of the infrastructure may not exclude State aid for the concessionaire. Measures (...)

The EU Commission opens three formal State aid investigations into the public fundings of some of the most well-known Spanish football clubs
McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
EUROPEAN COMMISSION TARGETS SPANISH FOOTBALL CLUBS INCLUDING REAL MADRID AND BARCELONA FOR STATE AID INVESTIGATION* The European Commission (Commission), on 18 December 2013, opened three formal State aid investigations into public support measures for major Spanish football clubs. The (...)

The EU Commission decides to consider the aid for renewing an ice arena to be compatible with the internal market since it served a policy objective of common interest (Thialf)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on Lexxion State Aid Blog Competitive Elements in the Selection of Operators of Sports Infrastructure May not Be Enough to Eliminate State Aid* Main points The existence of an advantage cannot be excluded when the operator of an infrastructural facility is chosen through a (...)

The EU Commission finds that the State aid granted under the form of a fiscal measure implemented in breach of the standstill provision was compatible with the internal market (Hungarian Sport Donations)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on Lexxion State Aid Blog Fiscal Leveraging: Donations and State Aid for Culture and Sports* Introduction In this blog I examine primarily a Dutch measure that supports cultural institutions by providing tax incentives to individuals and corporations to make donations to (...)

The Danish Competition Authority finds that a municipality granted an unlawful aid to a national football club but failed to order repayment because the aid was granted before the relevant State aid provisions (Farum Park)
Honoré & Fallesen (Copenhagen)
On 22 June 2011 the Danish Competition Council issued a decision dealing with the question whether a Danish municipality (municipality of Furesø) had rented a Center for Sport and Culture to a local football club (FC Nordsjaelland) to a price below market price, leading to a grant of unlawful (...)

A Dutch Court of Appeals annuls the Competition’s Authority decision on the application of competition rules in the sphere of State aid (Blovo)
Urgenda (Basel)
Introduction In this case the Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal of the Netherlands (Tribunal) made a principal judgement on the application of competition rules to behaviour that could be regarded as granting of State Aid. The Tribunal decided that qualification of behaviour as granting of (...)

Procedures

The EU Court of Justice rules on the scope of a national limitation period in light of the Damages Directive (Sport TV / Cogeco)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 28 March 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“ECJ”) ruled on a preliminary reference from a Portuguese court on the scope of the Portuguese limitation period in light of Directive 2014/104 on certain rules governing actions for damages under national law for infringements of the (...)

The Italian Administrative Supreme Court upholds a tribunal judgment which partially annulled the Competition Authority’s commitment decision for an excess of power (Federazione Italiana Sport Equestri)
Bonelli Erede (Rome)
By its judgment delivered on 11 November 2009, the Italian Last Instance Administrative Court (“Consiglio di Stato”) upheld the judgment of the Court of First Instance (“Tar Lazio”) which had annulled the Italian Competition Authority’s (“ICA”) commitment decision on the “Federazione Italiana Sport (...)

The Vienna High Court declares behavioural commitments concerning broadcasting rights of the skiing world cup binding upon the public TV/radio provider and the Austrian skiing association (ÖRF / ÖSV)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
At the request of the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (Bundeswettbewerbs-ehörde ; “BWB”), the Vienna High Court in competition matters (Oberlandesgericht Wien als Kartellgericht), by (unpublished) order of 18 January 2008, in Case 26 Kt 42/06, adopted on the basis of Sec 27(1) of the (...)

The UK Court of Appeal rejects an allegation of unreasonable refusal to supply and unlawful discriminatory pricing (Attheraces / British Horseracing Board)
King’s College (London)
Introduction This note considers one of the two cases recently heard by the “ordinary” courts (the High Court and Court of Appeal) (See also A. Jones, The UK Hight Court rules on interim unjunction for an alleged unlawful refusal to supply in the pharmaceutical sector (AAH (...)

A US District Court holds that the rule granting exclusive rights to produce “A” horse shows within a 250-mile radius was exempt from antitrust liability according to the doctrine of implied antitrust immunity under the Amateur Sports Act (JES Properties / USA Equestrian)
Sheppard Mullin (Los Angeles)
Horse Show Governing Body Mileage Rule Against Competing Horse Shows Is Subject to Summary Judgment On Ground Of Implied Antitrust Immunity* Plaintiffs, promoters of “A” Hunter-Jumper Competitions on the Florida Winter Horse Show circuit, filed an action against USA Equestrian, Inc., (“USAE”), (...)

The Austrian Supreme Court, acting as appellate Cartel Court, refuses to state whether or not an agreement falls within the scope of Art 81 EC
Reidlinger Schatzmann Rechtsanwälte (Vienna)
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DORDA (Wien)
This case relates to the effects of the modernization of EC competition law on Austrian law. Sec. 8a of the Austrian Cartel Act empowers the Cartel Court upon formal request by a party to decide whether or not a specific set of facts falls within the scope of the Act. In the case at issue, the (...)

Regulatory

The Finnish Administrative Court allows game organisers to continue their fantasy sports operations while the definition of a lottery is being reviewed (Veikkaus Oy)
Bird & Bird (Helsinki)
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Bird & Bird (Helsinki)
The Finnish gambling market is one of the most regulated in Europe; state-owned Veikkaus Oy has the exclusive right to provide gambling services in Finland. The Lotteries Act (1047/2001) stipulates that the definition of a lottery is fulfilled when an activity includes three elements: a charge (...)

The UNCTAD meeting of experts examines competition issues for developing country regulators in the market for audio-visual rights to sports events
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
Audio-visual sports rights experts step up to the plate* The battle for audio-visual rights to sports events is as fierce as the action on the field, and competition regulators in developing countries must be prepared to play the game. With half the globe glued to screens for the soccer World (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority issues a report on sport and competition law
Swedish Competition Authority (Stockholm)
New report on Sport and Competition Law* Sporting activity has, on several occasions, been scrutinised from a competition law perspective. However, it is possible to avoid contravening the rules on competition. A new research report, carried out on behalf of the Swedish Competition Authority, (...)

The French Competition Authority accepts the commitments submitted by the holder of a legal monopoly over horserace bets placed in physical outlets, to separate its online horserace betting activity from its point of sale network (Betclic / PMU)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence has obtained a commitment from the PMU, which will separate its online horserace betting activity from its network of points of sale under monopoly. With this decision, the Autorité ensures that diversified legal supply is maintained, to the consumer’s benefit, on (...)

The French Competition Authority receives commitments from the incumbent betting company in order to distinguish its horserace betting activities online from those dealing with horserace betting in physical outlets (Betclic / PMU)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
PMU proposes commitments in order to distinguish its online horserace betting activities from those dealing with horserace betting in physical outlets* Following a complaint lodged by Betclic Everest Group (hereinafter Betclic) with the Autorité de la concurrence, the PMU proposed separating (...)

The England and Wales High Court holds that even if the need for police services arises from a private event, policing does not constitute a special service when it is performed on land that is not owned, leased or controlled by the event organiser (Leeds United Football Club / The Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police)
University of Cambridge
Regulating charges for special police services* Police services are generally performed for the benefit of the public at large and provided for out of public funds. However, the police also have the power (under s.25 of the Police Act 1996) to provide “special police services” for which they can (...)

The French Competition Authority issues an opinion pointing out some competition concerns in the newly opened online gambling markets
French Competition Authority (Paris)
In an opinion issued seven months after the law entered into force, the French Competition Authority pointed out that some practices could give rise to anticompetitive issues: the betting right agreements signed between operators and sport event organizers should be regulated to ensure a fair (...)

The Spanish Parliament adopts a new General Media Act for the new millennium
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
A new Media Act has entered into force in Spain earlier this year. The preamble to the Media Act notices how the media sector has evolved, particularly due to the introduction of digital technology and the end of the limited spectrum paradigm. The preceding media law was hitherto contained in (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority issues recommendations for guaranteeing effective competition in the acquisition of football broadcasting rights (Sogecable / AVS)
Compass Lexecon (Madrid)
On the decision C 102/06 - Sogecable / AVS related to the acquisition of AVS by Sogecable, the former Spanish Competition Tribunal stated the need to investigate the market for the acquisition and exploitation of football broadcasting rights in Spain, with the objective to determine if the (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority investigates football broadcasting rights (Sogecable / Vía Digital / AVS I, II & III)
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
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Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
Football is an important matter in Spain. Such importance is currently being illustrated by the mediatic and legal warfare between two media groups, Sogecable and Mediapro, which are fighting over the football league’s broadcasting rights. Each weekend, since the professional league season (...)

The French Competition Authority delivers a favourable opinion on a draft decree relating to the sale of broadcasting rights for sporting competitions
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. The Conseil de la concurrence delivers a favourable opinion concerning the draft decree on the sale of broadcasting rights for sporting competitions.* Asked by the Minister of Economy to issue an opinion on a (...)

The EU Commission launches a sector inquiry into the sale of sports rights to Internet and 3G mobile operators
Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle (Courbevoie)
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Hellenic Competition Authority (Athens)
"Using the instrument of sector-wide inquiries: inquiry into content for 3G services"* 1. The importance of a proactive approach in the antitrust field, especially regarding emerging markets DG Competition has launched a comprehensive rethinking of the use of its instruments. This has been (...)

The French Competition Authority grants interim measures in the radio broadcasting rights market (GIE Sport libre / RMC info)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. Radio broadcasting rights for the football World Cup : the Conseil de la concurrence issues an interim measure against GIE [1] Sport libre* Following a referral by the company RMC Info, in a decision dated (...)

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