Author: Niall Hearty 28 July 2023
LexisNexis asked Niall Hearty for his assessment of why the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) fined Leicester City FC £880,000.
Niall explained that the football club was penalised because it had entered into an anti-competitive arrangement with the sports retailer JD Sports.
The club and the retailer had colluded to restrict competition in the sales of Leicester City-branded clothing, including replica kit, in the UK. The allegations related to the business arrangements between the two parties over three football seasons.
In August 2018, it was agreed that JD Sports would stop selling Leicester City-branded clothing online for the 2018/19 season. In January 2019, it was agreed that JD Sports would not undercut Leicester City in terms of online sales prices for the 2019/20 season. This would be ensured by JD Sports applying a delivery charge to all orders of Leicester City-branded clothing – despite its company-wide promotional offer of free online delivery for all orders over £70. It was then agreed that this delivery charge would continue for the 2020/21 season.
Niall detailed the law in relation to anti-competitive practices and the CMA’s willingness to bring action and impose large financial penalties. He emphasised that anti-competitive behaviour is “a high-stakes, high-risk pattern of behaviour’’.
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Niall has a wealth of corporate crime expertise and an ability to coordinate global bribery and corruption cases. His achievements in such investigations have made him a logical choice for corporate clients.