Rangers, Hummel and JD Sports probed by competition watchdog over replica kit pricing
Scottish football club Rangers are being probed by the UK competition watchdog over the pricing of their replica kits.
The Competition and Markets Authority is also investigating Rangers’ former kit maker Hummel and retailers JD Sports and Greaves Sports.
The CMA said it’s probe centred on “suspected anti-competitive behaviour in relation to the price at which Rangers FC-branded replica football kit was sold in the United Kingdom”.
The investigation, which was announced today, is expected to take six months.
“At this stage the CMA believes that it has reasonable grounds to suspect one or more breaches of competition law,” said the watchdog.
“The CMA has not reached a view as to whether there is sufficient evidence of an infringement of competition law for it to issue a statement of objections or, ultimately, an infringement decision, to any party under investigation.
“Not all cases result in the CMA issuing a statement of objections or an infringement decision.”
A spokesperson for JD said: “We are co-operating fully with the investigation and are unable to comment further at this time.”
Background to Rangers kit deal
Rangers’ kit deal with Hummel and its retail partner Elite sparked two long-running legal battles.
The club is seeking almost £3m it says it is owed by Hummel and Elite over the deal, which began in 2018.
The Hummel deal also led to litigation with Sports Direct tycoon Mike Ashley, who held shares in the club until 2017.
Rangers are now in the first year of a new kit deal with fast-growing English brand Castore.
The team, managed by former England captain Steven Gerrard, is top of the Scottish Premiership and on course to end rivals’ Celtic’s nine-year reign.