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BREAKING: JD Sports Broke Competition Law with Leicester City Price Fixing

BREAKING: JD Sports Broke Competition Law with Leicester City Price Fixing

In a recent development, JD Sports and Leicester City Football Club have been found guilty of breaking competition law by colluding to restrict competition in the sales of the football club’s clothing, including its replica kit. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) uncovered evidence of the agreement, and both parties have admitted their involvement in this anti-competitive behavior. This blog post delves into the details of the case and its implications for the involved parties.

 

This is not the first time JD Sports has faced scrutiny for its anti-competitive practices. Just last year, the retailer was fined nearly £1.5 million for engaging in cartel activity by fixing the retail price of Rangers football shirts. Additionally, the company faced a £4.3 million fine after a secret meeting between JD’s former CEO and the CEO of Footasylum during the CMA’s investigation into JD’s potential acquisition of the footwear retailer.

 

In August 2018, JD Sports agreed to halt the online sale of Leicester City-branded clothing for the 2018/19 season. This move aimed to restrict competition and prevent undercutting the football club’s merchandise online. Furthermore, in January 2019, JD Sports exempted the club’s merchandise from its free online delivery for all orders over £70 promotion, ensuring that the prices would not be undercut by competitors.

 

The CMA’s investigation into JD Sports and Leicester City FC has led to several consequences. Leicester City has been fined £880,000 for their involvement in the price fixing. However, JD Sports escaped a financial penalty after voluntarily reporting the agreement to the CMA in 2021. The retailer sought leniency by cooperating with the investigation and was granted full immunity from fines.

 

JD Sports has stated that none of its current or former directors, nor its senior management team, were involved in the Leicester City price fixing. The company acknowledges the gravity of the situation and has taken steps to strengthen its competition compliance program. The board has reaffirmed its commitment to allocating necessary resources, both internal and external, to embed competition compliance into its daily operations.

 

Competition is crucial for consumers to enjoy the benefits of choice and fair pricing. In this case, the collusion between Leicester City FC and JD Sports limited competition, resulting in potentially higher prices for football fans purchasing club merchandise. The CMA’s executive director of enforcement, Michael Grenfell, highlighted the significance of strong and unimpeded competition in allowing consumers to shop around for the best deals.

 

The recent finding by the CMA that JD Sports and Leicester City FC colluded to restrict competition and fix prices in the sales of club merchandise is a concerning development. JD Sports, with its history of anti-competitive practices, managed to avoid financial penalties by cooperating with the investigation. However, Leicester City has been fined £880,000 for its involvement. This case underscores the importance of maintaining fair competition in the retail industry and highlights the need for stricter compliance measures to prevent such practices in the future.

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