Lithuanian Watchdog Says National Basketball League Broke Antitrust Laws

The Lithuanian competition authority Konkurencijos taryba found that the Lithuanian Basketball League (Lietuvos krepšinio lyga – LKL) and 10 basketball clubs concluded an anti-competitive agreement when they decided not to pay basketball players salaries or other financial remuneration for the rest of the season after the termination of the basketball championship 2019–2020 due to the pandemic. The infringement of the Law on Competition and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union resulted in fines ranging from Eur 1,070 to EUR 16,510.

The authority launched the investigation into a suspected anti-competitive agreement in April 2020, after evaluating public discussions on the exchange of the terms of payment relating to basketball players‘ salaries, which were held between the LKL and basketball clubs.

Konkurencijos taryba found that during the extraordinary meeting of the board, which took place on 13 March 2020, the LKL and 10 basketball clubs decided to terminate the 2019–2020 championship due to the coronavirus pandemic, applying the force majeure clause, and agreed not to pay salaries and remuneration for basketball players for the rest of the championship, starting from 13 March 2020.

The conclusion of the anti-competitive agreement was also evidenced by e-mail correspondence between the representatives of the clubs, which contained negative reactions to some of the clubs that deviated from the agreement to pay salaries to basketball players only until 13 March.

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