Sports consultancy firm fined over R100‚000 for price fixing

A Johannesburg-based sports consultancy company has been fined over R100‚000 by the Competition Commission for price fixing.

According to the Competition Commission‚ Talent Sports (Pty) Ltd (QTS) has agreed to pay a fine of R114‚168.84 after pleading guilty to charges of fixing the price of commission fees and fixing trading conditions.

The matter has now been referred to the Competition Tribunal to make it an order.

The commission says QTS‚ the South African Football Intermediaries Association (SAFIA) and 35 other football intermediaries were referred to the tribunal for prosecution in September last year.

The commission uncovered collusion among the total of 37 accused‚ who negotiate transfer fees and contracts for football players and coaches. The commission’s investigation revealed‚ among others‚ that SAFIA and its members had agreed to charge soccer players and coaches a standard 10% commission fee when negotiating transfer fees and contracts on their behalf; that they charge football players a standard 20% commission fee when negotiating commercial contracts; and that they use SAFIA as a platform for collusion.

In its settlement agreement‚ QTS has according to the commission‚ undertaken to cooperate fully in the prosecution of the other accused companies.

This includes testifying before the tribunal‚ providing evidence (written or otherwise) and agreeing to refrain from engaging in cartel conduct. QTS has also agreed to attend a competition law compliance training programme and to make the training materials available to all employees‚ managers‚ directors and agents annually‚ to ensure they comply with the Competition Act.

“It’s encouraging that someone owns up and undertakes to assist the investigation and prosecution‚ not waste our time and valuable resources. In turn‚ QTS has been able to negotiate a palatable settlement that takes into account the fact that they have shown remorse and regret their unlawful actions‚” said Competition Commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele.

According to its website‚ QTS offers a full service sports consultancy specialising in professional football in South Africa and other countries.

“As our name suggests‚ we pride ourselves in the quality and talent of the athletes we represent as well as the quality of our services‚” the website reads.

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