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PZPN and Ekstraklasa Change Practices After UOKiK Investigation

LAWPZPN and Ekstraklasa Change Practices After UOKiK Investigation
  • Following the intervention of the President of UOKiK, PZPN and Ekstraklasa SA have changed their practices which may have constituted an abuse of a dominant position.
  • There were reservations about how the fee for permission to use the results of football games was determined.

The President of UOKiK has opened a preliminary investigation following signals concerning the actions of the Polish Football Association [PZPN] and Ekstraklasa, the organiser of the top football league in Poland. The information obtained showed that the association charged bookmaking entities a fixed fee of 0.5 percent of total gross revenue for providing access to sports results. The reservation was that the fee was based on the bookmaking entity’s total revenues, regardless of whether they were generated by games organised by the Polish Football Association and Ekstraklasa or by other events. This practice could be considered an abuse of market position by the Polish Football Association and Ekstraklasa SA.

In the course of our investigation, the Polish Football Association and Ekstraklasa have changed the way they had charged their fees and their amount for the use of football results. We consider the new charging mechanism satisfactory from the point of view of antitrust law, which puts our actions against PZPN and Ekstraklasa to an end in this regard – says President of UOKiK Tomasz Chróstny.

The basis of the new settlement model is the bookmakers’ revenues generated exclusively from bets on Polish football teams’ games. In addition, the association has reduced its rates. The first contract under the new rules was signed at the end of 2022 and since then the Polish Football Association has changed the rules of settlement with more bookmakers.

What is an abuse of dominant position?

According to antitrust laws, an entity that holds a dominant position in a given market may not use it to the detriment of its competitors, counterparties or consumers. In competition law, there is a presumption that if an entrepreneur’s share of the relevant market exceeds 40%, it holds a dominant position. The abuse of a dominant position may consist, for example, in the imposition of onerous contractual terms that bring the dominant entity some unreasonable benefits or the use of unfair prices. However, excessive prices are the prices of products or services that must be inflated “significantly” and be applied “permanently.” This means that only in specific situations does the use of a high price (a price that is unfair in the opinion of consumers) constitute a violation of antitrust law.

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