ANTITRUST | The Italian Administrative Court of Second Instance rules on FISE’s appeal against the finding of abuse of dominant position by AGCM

On 5 June 2024, the Italian Administrative Court of Second Instance (Consiglio di Stato) issued judgment No. 5054, reversing the decision of the Court of First Instance and annulling the decision by which the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) had sanctioned Federazione Italiana Sport Equestri (“FISE”) for, inter alia, abusing its dominant position in the market for the organisation of equestrian events of a competitive, amateur or recreational nature (the “Relevant Market”). According to the AGCM, the abusive conduct consisted in the adoption of statutory provisions which (a) prevented FISE’s affiliates from joining a similar association, and (b) recognised FISE as the only entity entitled to regulate equestrian activities in Italy. The Consiglio di Stato held that the AGCM had failed to provide evidence of FISE’s dominant position in the Relevant Market, as the mere existence of regulatory powers granted to FISE was not sufficient to prove its dominance, also considering that those powers did not directly affect all the segments of the Relevant Market. Based on this assumption, the Court also emphasised that the ICA had not specifically proved the anti-competitive effects of the conduct.

Newsletter n. 97 – June 2024