Good for competitors, spectators and the development of automobile sports
The decision of the Swedish Market Court stating that the Swedish Automobile Sports Federation may not apply their loyalty rules is good for those involved in automobile sports as well as for the spectators. “I am very satisfied with the decision of the Court”, says the Swedish Competition Authority's Director-General Dan Sjöblom.
In May 2011, the Competition Authority decided to order the Swedish Automobile Sports Federation to change its rules. The intention was to make it possible for drivers and officials to participate in competitions organised by independent operators. The Automobile Sports Federation chose to appeal the decision, after which the Swedish Market Court has sided with the Competition Authority.
The Market Court has reached a decision, as did the Competition Authority, in consideration of the non-profit nature of the sport. Even with regard to the operational concept of the sport, the Automobile Sports Federation rules have been too stringent and have resulted in unjustified restrictions on competition. The Market Court has found that activities outside the Automobile Sports Federation can contribute to making the sport accessible to a wider audience.
It emerged during trial testimony before the Market Court that excessively stringent loyalty rules, contrary to their purpose, can constitute an obstacle to the development of automobile sports in Sweden.
“We have viewed these negative effects of unjustified restrictions on competition as the core of the matter and we now hope this can also lead to reflection outside of the Automobile Sports Federation”, says Dan Sjöblom.
The decision of the Court, which cannot be appealed and enters into immediate effect, means that more competitions and new forms and branches of competition can be developed. An increase in what is on offer and a greater diversity benefits both participants and spectators. The sport becomes accessible for more practitioners.
Swedish sports currently have a considerable economic dimension, in addition to the social dimension and public health considerations.
“Sports clubs and federations as well, to the extent that they engage in economic activity, must therefore respect the stipulations of the Swedish Competition Act”, says the Competition Authority's Head of Legal Department, Per Karlsson.
For further information, please contact:
Jimmy Dominius, Press Officer, tel. +46 (0)8 7001580 or +46 (0)76 5421580
Per Karlsson, Head of Legal Department, tel. +46 (0)8 7001556
Marie Östman, Legal Councel tel. +46 (0)8 7001538