CMA reveals private discussions of Rangers FC merchandise price-fixing
Private conversations held between executives and their employees in connection to collusion on price fixing of Rangers FC merchandise have been published by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
In September the regulator handed out fines of £1.49 million, £459,000 and £225,000 to JD Sports, Elite and Rangers respectively. In the latest public filing, documents detailed how Elite pressured a JD sports employee to increase the price of a Rangers shirt by £5.
The CMA’s investigation shows how Rangers FC colluded with JF Sports and Elite to push the price of a Rangers shirt up to £60 from £55.
According to the report, executives were concerned about “noise that was coming from the fans” over the price discrepancy. At a 2018 Rangers International Football Club plc meeting, a director said: “There had been some teething issues with Elite’s performance and we had been assured these would be addressed.
“An error had been made with JD and the price at which they put strips on sale. We had been told this was the result of a communication mix up between Elite and JD and would not occur again.”
One director interviewed by the CMA said: “[Rangers] got an avalanche of complaints from fans not long after the strips had gone on sale because JD had been given a supply of strips, and they were - I think they were at 55 quid and we were at 60, and they were – so, fans who, at that time, could only buy online, they were paying 60 plus whatever postage was going to be.
“And we got a lot of fans saying, “Wait a minute, what’s happened here?” you know, “You’re ripping us off”. […] We were - reacting to supporter criticism but we didn’t know where the, the things had been priced. And, obviously, they’re entitled to price at what they want to price it, so – but we didn’t have any warning of it.”
The complete findings and conversations can be read at the CMA filing here.