Academic journal article The International Sports Law Journal

Chinese Professional Football League from the Perspective of Antimonopoly Law

Academic journal article The International Sports Law Journal

Chinese Professional Football League from the Perspective of Antimonopoly Law

Article excerpt

Introduction

From China Football League-A (hereinafter referred to as League-A) to Chinese Football Association Super League (hereinafter referred to as CSL), Chinese football has always been capturing the hearts of its nationals. Various disputes arising from professional leagues have sparked public concern and controversy. There is considerable disagreement on whether Chinese Football has been monopolized. On August 30th, 2007, Antimonopoly Law of People's Republic of China (hereinafter referred to as Antimonopoly Law) was passed by the tenth NPC Standing Committee, which came into effect officially on August 1st, 2008. The author intends to analyze the practice of Chinese professional football league (hereinafter referred to as CPFL) so as to confirm its monopoly and propose the corresponding solution.

I. Overview of Antimonopoly Law

Antimonopoly Law is divided into 8 chapters totalling 57 articles as follows: General Rule, Monopoly Agreement, Abuse of a Dominant Market Position, Concentration of Undertakings, Abuse of Administrative Power to Eliminate or Restrict Competition, Restrictions on Competition, Investigation of the Suspected Monopoly Conducts, Liability and Supplementary Rules, etc. The third article of Antimonopoly Law generalizes monopoly acts provided in the present law, which includes such three types as monopoly agreement, abuse of a dominant market position and centralization of undertakings which may exclude or restrict competition.

A. Monopoly agreement

Antimonopoly Law divides the monopoly agreement of operators into two types: horizontal agreement and vertical agreement. According to Article 13 of Antimonopoly Law, horizontal agreement refers to the agreement reached by competing undertakings. Vertical agreement refers to the agreement reached between undertakings and counterparts of the deal in accordance with Article 14 of Antimonopoly Law. Despite the above provisions, undertakings are still entitled to exemption in condition that the agreement between undertakings accords with the provision of Article 15 of Antimonopoly Law.

B. Abuse of dominant market position

Article 17 of Antimonopoly Law provides that undertakings in a dominant market position shall not abuse this position and are banned to conduct such practices as: sell commodities with unfair high price or purchase commodities with unfair low price; refuse to deal with its counterparts without legitimate reasons, etc. Article 18 and 19 of Antimonopoly Law provide how to identify the undertakings' dominant market position.

C. Centralization

According to article 20 of Antimonopoly Law, centralization includes situations as follows: first, the merge of undertakings; second, the acquisition by undertakings; third, the acquisition of control of other undertakings or of possibility of exercising decisive influence on other undertakings.

D. Administrative monopoly

It is worth mentioning that in view of the widespread administrative monopoly in China's marketing economy, Antimonopoly Law first provides in article 8 of General Rule that administrative organs and organizations with functions of public affairs management granted by law and regulations should not abuse administrative power, so as to preclude and restrict competition. In Chapter 5, the Abuse of Administrative Power to Eliminate or Restrict Competition in particular generalizes the concrete means of administrative power abuse, of which, Article 36 and 37 specify that it is banned for administrative organs and organizations with functions of public affairs management granted by law and regulations to abuse administrative power, force undertakings to engage in monopoly acts or draft regulations with the idea of elimination and restriction of competition.

II. Chinese Football Association's Status under Antimonopoly Law

Of all the organizations relating to CPFL, Chinese Football Association (hereinafter referred to as CFA) becomes the first target of public criticism, and the various suspected monopoly acts in the CPFL are normally carried out in name of the CSA. …

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