SAFIA likely to be prosecuted for price fixing

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The South African Football Intermediaries Association could be in hot water for fixing of prices and trading conditions.

The Commission has referred the South African Football Intermediaries Association (SAFIA) and 36 of its members to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution in relation to fixing of prices and trading conditions.

SAFIA is a body of sports agents who manage soccer players and coaches. They, by and large, negotiate transfer fees and contracts on behalf of players and coaches. A Commission investigation has revealed the following, among others:

· SAFIA and its members agreed to charge soccer players and coaches a standard 10% commission fee when negotiating and concluding, on their behalf, new contracts, transfer contracts, and renewal contracts with football clubs ;
· They also charge football players and coaches a standard 20% commission fee when negotiating and concluding, on their behalf, new commercial contracts and renewal of those contracts with sponsors; and
· They use SAFIA as a platform for collusion.

In referring the matter to the Tribunal for prosecution, the Commission is seeking an order declaring that SAFIA and its members contravened the Competition Act. The Commission also wants SAFIA and its members to cease from engaging in this conduct and similar conduct in future.

Further, the Commission is seeking an order declaring that each of the 37 parties be held liable for the payment of the maximum fine allowable in terms of the Competition Act.

Background

In May 2015, the South African Football Association (SAFA) acting on instructions of FIFA sought to regulate the affairs of football agents, including to reduce the 10% commission to 3%. SAFIA blocked this attempt through a court interdict.

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In July 2015, the Commission received a complaint from SAFIA against SAFA. SAFIA alleged that the 3% cap introduced by SAFA constitutes fixing of an agent’s fee in contravention of the Competition Act. Following an investigation, the Commission decided not to prosecute SAFA. Instead, the Commission decided to launch an investigation in December 2015 against SAFIA and its members for fixing the commission they charge football players and coaches.

The 37 parties in the matter are as follows:

1. South African Football Intermediaries Association
2. Pro Sport International (Pty) Ltd
3. Siyavuma Sports Group (Pty) Ltd
4. The Players Club CC
5. Bidvest Media (Pty) Ltd, trading as MSC Sports
6. Quality Talent Sports (Pty) Ltd
7. Prof’ Sionalz Marketing and Management CC
8. JDR Consulting (Pty) Ltd
9. P Management (Pty) Ltd
10. Musawenkosi Arthur Dlamini
11. Tebogo Taunyane Hlapolosa
12. GS Sports Agency (Pty) Ltd
13. Erika Bester
14. Sierra Sports Agency CC
15. KN Sports CC
16. Bheki Khathide
17. Liberate Resources Sports Management CC
18. Eclectic Sports Management (Pty) Ltd
19. On the Ball Sports Management (Pty) Ltd
20. Touchline Sports Management (Pty) Ltd
21. True Ambition Sports Management (Pty) Ltd
22. Eliot Nzama
23. Ben Kokela
24. ETM Sports Management CC
25. Sports Midfield Agency (Pty) Ltd
26. Alex Bondarenko
27. Mede8 Sports (Pty) Ltd
28. New Generation Sports Management (Pty) Ltd
29. Abelsam Sports Management CC
30. Cape Colosseum Management CC
31. Sipho Shaven
32. MVP Sports Management International (Pty) Ltd
33. Modhouma Holding (Pty) Ltd
34. Gladwin Mpho Diokane
35. Vasili Barbis
36. Phelele Mkhize
37. MS Sport Management (Pty) Ltd

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