(Reuters) – US sports manufacturer Nike Inc. was fined € 12.5 million ($ 14.1 million) on Monday to block cross-border sales of football articles from some of Europe's best-known clubs, the latest The EU sanction against such restrictions.
The European Commission said that Nike's illegal practices occurred between 2004 and 2017 and related to licensed goods for FC Barcelona, Manchester United, Juventus, Inter Milan, AS Roma and the French Football Association.
The case of the European Union focused on Nike's role as a licensor to make and distribute licensed goods with a football club's trademarks and not its own brands.
The sanction came after a two-year investigation triggered by a sector inquiry for e-commerce in 28 countries blocks. The EU wants to increase online trade and economic growth.
European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said that Nike's actions deprived football fans in other countries of the opportunity to buy their clubs goods such as mugs, bags, sheets, stationery and toys.
"Nike prevented many of its licensees from selling these branded goods in another country, leading to less choice and higher prices for consumers," she said in a statement.
Nike's practices included clauses in agreements that prohibit out-of-territory sales of licensees and threats to conclude licensees ignored the clauses. The fine was reduced by 40% after the cooperation with the EU President and CEO.