The Competition Authority (AdC) has sanctioned 31 sports companies that participated in the 2019/2020 edition of the Primeira, Segunda and Portuguese Professional Football League, the entity announced in a statement sent to newsrooms on Friday. This was the first time that an anti-competitive practice had been sanctioned in the labor market in Portugal.
Among the clubs subject to sanctions are Sporting, Porto, Benfica and Braga. Fines charged range from €3,326 (Vitória Futebol Clube – SAD) to €4,163,000 (Sport Lisboa e Benfica – Futebol, SAD). Just in the case of Clube Desportivo das Aves – Futebol SAD (community in liquidation) was not fined.
The penalty decision resulted in a total fine of approximately 11.3 million euros. The value applied to each sports firm took into account “the volume of sales of sanctioned firms in affected markets in years of practice,” as well as factors such as “the severity and duration of the infringement, the degree of corporate involvement in the infringement, and the state of the firms’ economics.”
The subject of the dispute is the conclusion of a “restrictive agreement on competition that prevented clubs from the first and second leagues from hiring footballers who unilaterally terminate the employment contract which raises the problems caused by the Covid-19 pandemic”.
This type of non-employment agreement, also known as “no poaching,” is prohibited under competition law because it limits “the independence of firms in determining strategic business conditions” and “affects workers by reducing their bargaining power and salary levels”. and deprivation of labor mobility.
The investigation concluded that the goal of this agreement is to “keep players linked to sports associations, reduce their incentives without separating their contracts, and therefore do not aim at cooperation goals that can be considered essential in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The statement explained that “through the non-employment agreement, companies refrain from hiring each other’s workers, thus abandoning competition for the acquisition of human resources, in addition to depriving workers of labor mobility.”
“As a result of this agreement, the player who initiated the termination of his contract due to problems arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, will not be appointed by another club in the Portuguese first or second league of professional football.”
Accordingly, he concluded, “The agreement was also able to reduce the quality of football matches and, to this extent, harm consumers, by reducing the competitive environment between clubs, preventing the recruitment of players who could fill the gaps in football teams and forcing talented players to leave the country. to continue their professional activity.
According to the statement that Expresso was able to access, the process leading to the sanctions was opened by AdC in May 2020, after two press releases from the Portuguese Football League referred to this agreement. Since May 26, 2020, precautionary measures have been imposed.
See below the list of clubs subject to individual penalties and fines:
• Academic of Viseu Futebol Clube – Futebol SAD – 24,000 Euro
• Academia Coimbra – SDUQ, Lda. – 24,000 euros
• Boavista Futebol Clube – Futebol, SAD – €99,000
• Casa Pia Atlético Clube – Futebol Sduq, Lda – €8000
• CD Tondela – Futebol SAD – €139,000
• Cova da Piedade Sports Club – Futebol SAD – 32,000 €
• Clube Desportivo de Mafra – Futebol SDUQ, Lda. – 20,000 euros
• Clube Desportivo Feirense – Futebol SAD – €22,000
• Estoril Praia – football, SAD – 27,000 euros
• Futebol Clube de Famalicão – Futebol SAD – 192,000 euros
• Futebol Clube de Paços de Ferreira, SDUQ, Lda. – 137,000 EUR
• Futebol Clube de Penafiel SAD – 15,000 euros
• Futebol Clube do Porto, Futebol, SAD – €2,582,000
• Gil Vicente Futebol Club – Futebol, SDUQ, LDA. – 164,000 euros
• Leixões Sport Clube Futebol – SAD – €19,000
• Portuguese Football League – 564,000 euros
• Maritimo da Madeira Futebol, sad – 199,000 euros
• Moreirense Futebol Clube – Futebol, SAD – 152,000 euros
• Os Belenenses – Sociedade Desportiva de Futebol, SAD – €270,000
• Portimonense Futebol, SAD – €111,000
• Rio Ave Futebol Club – Futebol SDUQ, Lda. – 163,000 euros
• Santa Clara Azores – football, SAD – 132,000 euros
• Sport Lisbon and Benfica – Futebol, R – 4,163,000 euros
• Sporting Clube da Covilhã – Futebol, SDUQ, Lda – 26,000 euros
• Sporting Club de Braga, football, SAD – 340,000 euros
• Sporting Club Portugal – Futebol, SAD – 1,666,000 euros
• União Desportiva Oliveirense – Futebol, SDUQ, Lda. – 16000 EUR
• Vilafranquense Sports Federation – Football, SAD – 14,000 €
• Varzim Sport Club – Futebol, SDUQ Lda. – 26000 EUR
• Vitoria Football Club – sad – 3,326 euros