EU: Italy’s UCI faces new antitrust complaint

The UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) is facing a second complaint in the space of a week alleging that it has breached European Union competition law – this latest one coming from the Lega del Ciclismo Professionistico (LCP, the Italian Professional Cycling League), which represents organisers of professional races in Italy, as well as professional teams affiliated to the country’s national governing body for the sport, the FCI.

Last week Velon, the joint venture whose shareholders include 11 men’s UCI WorldTour teams including Team Ineos, Movistar, and Deceuninck-Quick Step, revealed it had lodged a complaint with the European Commission alleging that the Switzerland-based governing body was in breach of articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

Velon, which was set up in part to develop revenue streams for teams in a sport in which lucrative broadcast rights are owned by race organisers or, in the case of the World Championships, the UCI itself, claims that the UCI has sought to prevent it from developing its business, in regard to both the Hammer Series, launched in 2017, and in using technology such as on-board camera footage and rider data to enhance TV coverage.

The complaint lodged by the LCP falls under Article 101 of the TFEU which prohibits, inter alia, “all agreements between undertakings, decisions by associations of undertakings and concerted practices which may affect trade between Member States and which have as their object or effect the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition within the internal market.”

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