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Brussels confirms antitrust raids on sports media firms

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Brussels confirms antitrust raids on sports media firms

Football - Photo © Rui Araujo - Fotolia

(BRUSSELS) - EU officials carried out unannounced inspections in several Member States at the premises of companies active in the distribution of media rights and related rights relating to sports events and broadcasting.

The EU executive says it has concerns that the companies involved may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices (Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union).

Commission officials carried out the raids accompanied by their counterparts from the relevant national competition authorities.

Unannounced inspections are a preliminary step into suspected anticompetitive practices. The Commission stresses that the fact that it has carried out such inspections does not necessarily mean that the companies are guilty of anti-competitive behaviour. It also does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself.

The Commission says it respects the rights of defence, in particular the right of companies to be heard in antitrust proceedings.

It adds that there is no legal deadline to complete inquiries into anticompetitive conduct.

The duration of any probe depends on a number of factors, including the complexity of each case, the extent to which the undertakings concerned co-operate with the Commission and the exercise of the rights of defence.


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