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Watchdog launches probe into Leicester City and JD Sports over merchandise

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The UK competition watchdog has launched an investigation in Leicester City FC and retailer JD Sports over the sale of club merchandise.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it believes it has “reasonable grounds to suspect one or more breaches of competition law” by the parties.

It added that the probe is directly related to suspected infringements of commercial agreement legislation regarding the sale of club branded products and merchandise in the UK.

“The CMA has not reached a view as to whether there is sufficient evidence of an infringement of competition law for it to issue a statement of objections or, ultimately, an infringement decision, to any party under investigation,” the regulator added.

“Not all cases result in the CMA issuing a statement of objections or an infringement decision.”

Footaslyum takeover

A Leicester City spokesman said: “Leicester City Football Club takes its obligations to comply with competition law very seriously and is fully cooperating with the Competition and Markets Authority in respect of the investigation announced this morning.

“We shall be making no further statements regarding this investigation for the time being.”

A spokesman for JD Sports said: “We are cooperating fully with the CMA’s investigation.

“We have no further comment at this time.”

The probe into Leicester City and JD Sports also comes less than a year after the regulator launched an investigation into price fixing of replica Rangers football kits sold by JD Sports and other retailers.

In December last year, the CMA said it had reasonable grounds to suspect breaches of competition law.

JD Sports is also awaiting a final decision from the competition watchdog over its planned takeover of rival Footasylum after the CMA was told to reassess its original decision to block the deal.

The CMA said earlier this month that it still has concerns over the move following fresh analysis, but that a final decision is due around October.

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