RCA Dispute AttheRaces Media Rights Decision
By philip
The Racecourse Association is locked in a dispute with the Office of Fair Trading over the ruling that the sale of media rights to AttheRaces was ‘against competition rules’. The RA has lodged an appeal with the Competition Appeals Tribunal following the decision by the OFT in April that, by selling rights collectively, the 49 racecourses restricted competition, and as a result, Attheraces had to pay more than would have been the case if there had been effective competition.

Attheraces collapsed through financial difficulties on March 29th after having paid £307 million for the rights to broadcast racing from all but ten tracks throughout Britain.

A statement from the RCA said they had, 'submitted a robust and compelling case that the joint negotiations by the racecourses did not breach the Competition Act 1998 and did not, as claimed by the OFT, increase the price paid for the rights by attheraces.“

It continued: 'Furthermore, the RCA has notified the tribunal that the OFT has failed to adduce sufficient, if any, evidence to support its claims and has failed to properly take account of submissions, including witness statements, by the RCA in response to its Rule 14 notice, issued in April 2003, and the supplementary notice, issued in September 2003.

'The RCA has asked the tribunal to hold that the OFT's decision misapplied the Competition Act and to order that the OFT pay the RCA's costs.'

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