On March 16, 2020, the TAR Lazio delivered its ruling in the judicial review proceedings concerning the 2019 ICA decision finding that, from 2008 to 2015, the MP Silva Group, the IMG Group, and the B4 Capital Group coordinated their bids in the procedures for the assignment of international audiovisual rights for the broadcasting of the matches of the football seasons relating to the Serie A and B, the Italy Cup and the Italian Super Cup, in countries other than Italy.[1]

The TAR Lazio rejected the parties’ claim that the ICA had infringed their right of defense, which was based on the following grounds: although in the statement of objections the ICA contested two separate anticompetitive agreements, in the second statement of objections – which it issued after receiving the parties’ replies to the first one – it characterized the same conduct as a single overall agreement. The Court clarified that the ICA is not only allowed to change its allegations before imposing a fine, but that it can do so even without finding new evidence, through a mere reappraisal of the proofs previously gathered. Moreover, there was nothing preventing the parties from replying to the second statement of objections. However, with regard to the applications lodged by companies of the B4 Capital Group, the Court partially upheld the plea concerning the quantification of the fine, and granted the applicants a 15 per cent reduction in their fine on the ground that the ICA should not have imposed an entry fee, whose purpose is to increase the deterrent effect of the sanction.

[1]              TAR Lazio, judgments Nos. 3260, 3261, 3264/2020; ICA decision of April 24, 2019, No. 27656, I814, Diritti internazionali.