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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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Speedway - explanatory proceedings of the president of UOKiK

< previous | next > 14.09.2021

Speedway - explanatory proceedings of the president of UOKiK
  • Do Polish speedway clubs use practices that restrict competition through joint arrangements concerning the rules of remunerating riders?
  • UOKiK President Tomasz Chróstny initiated explanatory proceedings in this case.

 

The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection received information on the activities of the Polish Automobile and Motorcycle Federation, speedway competition organisers and speedway clubs. According to the signals received, these entities may have engaged in competition-restricting practices. The allegations referred, among other things, to joint arrangements concerning maximum rider salaries, as well as pay cuts for the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

"Based on the signals received from the market, I made the decision to initiate an investigation. We want to look at whether the actions of speedway clubs, the association and the league may violate the principles of fair competition, in particular through agreements that restrict competition or by abusing dominant positions. I would like to remind you that clubs are entrepreneurs within the meaning of Polish and European competition law. This means that decisions and strategies regarding cooperation with riders should be taken individually and independently," says Tomasz Chróstny, President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection.

Joint arrangements concerning salaries may have eliminated an important factor affecting competition between teams, namely competition for the best riders. With coordinated action, clubs could afford to cut cash benefits for speedway riders without fear that other teams would offer them better terms. The contracted athletes, in turn, have a direct impact on the club's position in the market. As a rule, the better riders a club obtains, the better results it achieves in the competitions, which in turn translates into higher sales of tickets and easier acquisition of sponsors.

This is not the first proceeding by the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection concerning activities related to arrangements concerning athletes' salaries. The President of the Office is conducting antitrust proceedings against the Polish Basketball League and 16 basketball clubs.

The preliminary investigation concerns the matter itself and is not directed against any particular entrepreneur. If the collected evidence confirms the suspicions, the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection will initiate antitrust action and raise charges against particular entities. There is a penalty for participating in an agreement restricting competition of up to 10% of the turnover of the company. Managers responsible for entering into collusion may be fined up to PLN 2 million.

Severe penalties can be avoided through a leniency programme that gives the entity involved in an illegal agreement as well as the managers responsible for the collusion a chance to reduce or sometimes avoid fines. This is an option available on the condition of cooperating with the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection as the "key witness" and providing evidence of, or information about, the existence of an unlawful agreement. Entrepreneurs and managers interested in the leniency programme are invited to contact the Office. At a dedicated telephone number 22 55 60 555, the lawyers of the Office answer all questions regarding leniency applications, including anonymous ones.

We would like to remind you that the Office also runs a programme of acquiring information from anonymous whistleblowers. Please visit https://konkurencja.uokik.gov.pl/sygnalista/ and fill in a simple form. The European system we use guarantees full anonymity, also towards the Office.

Additional information for the media:

UOKiK Press Office
Pl. Powstañców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warszawa, Poland
Phone +48 695 902 088, +48 22 55 60 246
E-mail: [SCODE]Yml1cm9wcmFzb3dlQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]
Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL

Attached files

 

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