The European Commission suspects that companies active in the distribution of media rights and related rights pertaining to various sports events and/or their broadcasting in several European Union member states may have violated EU antitrust rules.

The Commission confirmed on April 10 that its officials carried out unannounced inspections. They found evidence of cartels and restrictive business practices – violations of Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

According to an EU press release, the Commission officials were accompanied by their counterparts from the relevant national competition authorities.

Unannounced inspections are a preliminary step into suspected anticompetitive practices. The fact that the Commission carries out such inspections does not mean that the companies are guilty of anti-competitive behaviour nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself.

According to the Commission, there is no legal deadline to complete inquiries into anticompetitive conduct. Their duration depends on several factors, including the complexity of each case, the extent to which the undertakings concerned cooperate with the Commission and the exercise of the rights of defence.