Sportswear giants ‘cutting off’ discounters

Major sportswear companies who cut off dealers who sell their products cheaply online have come to the attention of German competition authorities.

Sportswear giants 'cutting off' discounters
Photo: DPA

The Federal Cartel Office told The Local it was checking the terms of business used by Japanese shoe maker Asics, while German giant Adidas could be next for examination.

Disgruntled dealers who found their supply of sports shoes cut after selling them at reduced prices online have been complaining that the firms are trying to control prices and the market, the Financial Times Deutschland newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The manufacturers maintain that these online dealers undercut their manufacturer’s suggested retail price and thereby cheapen their image, the paper said. To prevent this, firms are increasingly refusing to deliver their products to these online dealers.

Both Adidas and Asics have said that they have cut off dealers who resell their goods on Internet platforms like Amazon and Ebay. Adidas said that was because its products were not being properly presented online – but one dealer dismissed this as a pretext. “They want to control everything,” he told the paper.

The newspaper said the cartel office got wind of the practice after a disgruntled Asics dealer made a complaint he was no longer being allowed to sell the products. Nike is reportedly going to follow suit, telling the paper that Amazon was not an authorised dealer.

Amazon Germany manager Ralf Kleber told the paper that he wanted to negotiate with Adidas.

“Telling the customer where he or she should buy their products is something we can’t understand,” Kleber told the paper, but could not suggest what kind of compromise might result from talks.

The paper noted that Puma has had its own online shop on Amazon for quite some time.

The Local/mw

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German football fans get green light to return to stadiums next season

Bundesliga clubs and other German sports venues will be allowed to welcome up to 25,000 spectators from next month, the city of Berlin said Tuesday after a meeting of officials from Germany's 16 states.

German football fans get green light to return to stadiums next season
Germany fans at the recent Euro 2020 match in London. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christian Charisius

Most matches in Germany’s top football league were played behind closed doors last season – so-called Geisterspiele or ghost games – because of the Covid-19 virus.

The new Bundesliga season starts on August 13th and with infection rates having fallen sharply, sports stadiums could be at 50 percent capacity, with the total number per match or event capped at 25,000.

The only exception is reigning Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, where up to 20,000 fans will be allowed into home games at the 75,000-capacity Allianz Arena because officials in Bavaria are allowing only 35 percent of capacity.

The new rules apply until September 11 and amid concerns in Germany about the Delta variant of the coronavirus, incidence rates must not exceed 35 new infections per 100,000 people over the previous seven days.

READ ALSO: German states call for uniform Covid rules at big events

If that happens, and “the infection cannot be clearly contained”, a maximum of 5,000 spectators will be allowed into sports events, German officials warned.

Only fans who can prove they are vaccinated or present a negative test will be allowed into stadiums and hygiene rules must be followed.

An easing of the regulations meant crowds of around 14,000 were allowed to attend Euro 2020 matches at Munich’s Allianz Arena over the last three weeks, but fans were largely kept out of German league games last season.