The Autoridade da Concorrência (AdC) today published an indictment to the Portuguese Professional Football League and 31 sports companies, including SAD do Portimonense, due to the signing of a non-hiring agreement in 2020.
According to the sports press, Portimonense is on the list of emblems accused of anti-competitive practice, unlike Farense, who, being at the time in the II football league, will not have signed the document.
"This is the first decision regarding an anti-competitive practice in the labor market that can occur in any sector of activity and is punishable under the terms of the Competition Law", notes that authority, in a note published today on the website.
The accusation extends to the League and 31 sports companies that participated in the I and II Leagues in 2019/20, for having “entered into an agreement restricting competition in the labor market”.
At stake is an agreement signed in the final stretch of the 2019/20 season, after the covid-19 pandemic suspending the championship, between professional clubs, which was the subject of a lawsuit in May 2020, after a precautionary measure brought by the Competition Authority.
The goal was for them not to hire athletes who unilaterally terminate their contracts for reasons related to the covid-19.
“In the present case, the agreement is able to reduce the quality of football matches and, to that extent, harm consumers, by reducing the competitive environment between clubs, preventing the hiring of players who could fill gaps in football teams and result in in the loss of players in national competitions ”, notes the AdC.
Even so, the creation of a note of illegality, which was “adopted on April 13, 2021” but only released today, does not constitute a final result in the investigation, but rather gives “the opportunity for the targeted companies to exercise their right to hearing and defense in relation to the offense attributed to them and the sanction or sanctions they may incur ”.
On April 7, 2020, the clubs of the Portuguese Football League (I Liga) undertook not to hire any player who has unilaterally terminated or terminates the employment contract due to the covid-19 pandemic.
"No club will hire a player who unilaterally terminates his employment contract, evoking issues arising as a result of the covid-19 pandemic or any exceptional decisions arising from it, including the extension of the sports season," the LPFP wrote in a statement. The next day, the emblems of the II League also made an equal commitment.