Monday 14 October 2019

Nike fined £10.7m for competition breaches over football merchandise sales

Barcelona, Manchester United and Juventus merchandise was affected.

Nike was granted a 40% fine reduction after it co-operated ‘beyond its legal obligation to do so’ (John Walton/PA)
Nike was granted a 40% fine reduction after it co-operated ‘beyond its legal obligation to do so’ (John Walton/PA)

By Ravender Sembhy, Press Association City Editor

Nike has been fined 12.5 million euros (£10.7 million) by the European Commission for breaching antitrust rules relating to the cross-border sale of football merchandise.

The sportswear giant banned traders from selling licensed merchandise for clubs including Barcelona, Manchester United and Juventus to other countries within the European Economic Area.

This, said EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, was in breach of antitrust rules and led to higher prices for consumers.

Nike prevented many of its licensees from selling these branded products in a different country, leading to less choice and higher prices for consumers Margrethe Vestager, EU competition commissioner

She said: “Football fans often cherish branded products from their favourite teams, such as jerseys or scarves.

“Nike prevented many of its licensees from selling these branded products in a different country, leading to less choice and higher prices for consumers.

“This is illegal under EU antitrust rules. Today’s decision makes sure that retailers and consumers can take full advantage of one of the main benefits of the single market: the ability to shop around Europe for a larger variety of products and for the best deals.”

The commission found that Nike’s practices were in force for 13 years up to 2017 and effectively “partitioned” the single market.

However, it granted Nike a 40% fine reduction after the US company co-operated with the investigation “beyond its legal obligation to do so”.

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