#sports #competition #belgianbumperpoolassociation #belgiancompetitionauthority
Friday, February 7th 2020 - On 24 January 2020, the Belgian Competition Authority imposed an interim measure on the Belgium Bumper Pool Association (‘Belgische Golfbiljartbond or BGB’) concerning the bumper pool balls that can be used in official competitions and matches. The interim measure followed a request from HCSB BVBA, a Flemish bumper pool ball producer that has challenged the BGB rules stipulating that only two balls produced by Saluc (an Hainaut company, which is the world market leader in the production of pool balls) may be played with.
The exclusivity deals concluded between Saluc and the BGB have long been a ‘thorn in the side’ of competitors, such as HCSB, which has now achieved its first victory. A final decision on the merits of the case will follow later.
In its interim measure decision, the BCA has given the BGB two choices:
In both situations, the BCA has authorised the BGB to stipulate that the balls must have certain objectively determinable characteristics that make them functionally suitable for playing bumper pool and do not create a statistically significant advantage for players who have practised with a particular brand of ball. These characteristics include ball weight, diameter, material, and rotation speed.
Based on the BGB secretary’s very recent reaction in an article in the ‘De Tijd’ newspaper, it seems the BGB is going to choose the second option.
Undertakings whose interests have been harmed by anticompetitive practices can ask the Belgian Competition College to adopt interim measures that suspend such practices if there is an urgent need to prevent serious, imminent and difficult-to-overcome damage.
While such interim measures are thus only imposed under strict conditions, nevertheless it can be said that the BCA has been playing a pioneering role in the EU. Although such measures are certainly not imposed on a regular basis, doing so is a more common practice in Belgium than in other EU countries. For example, interim measures were imposed only two weeks ago regarding the network-sharing joint venture between Proximus and Orange.
In the sports sector, reference can be made to the interim measure of 24 November 2015 that obliged the FEI (‘Fédération équestre internationale’) to suspend its rules concerning the participation of riders and horses in the Global Champions League.
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