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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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Speedway - President of UOKiK brings charges of restricting competition

< previous | next > 25.05.2022

Speedway - President of UOKiK brings charges of restricting competition
  • The establishment of maximum rates of remuneration for athletes competing in speedway competitions may violate competition-related rules.
  • President of UOKiK Tomasz Chróstny initiated antitrust proceedings against the Polish Automobile and Motorcycle Federation and Ekstraliga Żużlowa.
  • Actions of these entities may limit the clubs' ability to compete for the best riders.

The Polish Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (Polski Zwi±zek Motorowy, PZM) is a sports association responsible, among other things, for the organisation of speedway events in Poland. Based on the agreement with PZM, Ekstraliga Żużlowa is a company that manages speedway competitions at the highest league level in Poland - the Polish Extraleague. In addition, the PZM is the organiser of lower level competitions – the first and second speedway leagues.

The reservations of the President of UOKiK have been aroused by the organisational regulations adopted by the Polish Automobile and Motorcycle Federation with the participation of Ekstraliga Żużlowa, which provide for maximum rates of remuneration that sports clubs taking part in speedway league competitions may pay to competitors. No club participating in the Extraleague or other competitions may offer a speedway rider remuneration above a predetermined amount. The practice may have been in place since 2014.

"The top-down establishment of competitors' remuneration may lead to limited competition between clubs, which have been deprived of an important element of rivalry for the best speedway racers, even if they can afford to offer them higher salaries. I would like to remind you that contracted players have a direct impact on the position of the club on the market. The better riders the club acquires, the greater the probability of sporting success. This, in turn, translates into, for example, better ticket sales and easier acquisition of sponsors," says President of UOKiK Tomasz Chróstny.

The entities were also charged with violating EU regulations concerning competition protection. Polish speedway competitions are ranked among the best in Europe, which means that salaries in the Polish league are often a benchmark for salaries in other countries. In addition, many foreign riders compete in Polish leagues. Therefore, the practice could have an effect on trade between EU Member States within the meaning of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Participation in an agreement restricting competition is punishable by a financial penalty of up to 10% of the company turnover.

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

We would also like to remind you that the leniency programme gives the entity involved in an illegal agreement as well as the managers responsible for the collusion a chance to avoid or reduce 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.

The Office also runs a programme aimed at acquiring information from anonymous whistleblowers. Please visit https://konkurencja.uokik.gov.pl/sygnalista/ and fill in a simple form. The applied European system guarantees full anonymity, also towards the Office.

Additional information for the media:

UOKiK Press Office
Pl. Powstańców 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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