Court of Appeal upholds Zagreb's fine
On 24 November 2015, the club HC PPD Zagreb was sanctioned by the EHF Court of Handball with a €10.000 fine, a part of which was imposed on a suspended period with a probation period of 2 years (i.e. €3.500) for infringements relating to EHF exclusivity rights as regards promotional flyers distributed in the frame of Rounds 3 and 5 of the VELUX EHF Champions League.
The club filed an appeal with the EHF Court of Appeal on 1 December 2015, arguing in substance that the distributed flyers were not activation tools and that the amount was disproportionate.
The EHF Court of Appeal has released its decision and decided to reject the appeal to uphold the first instance ruling explaining in substance the following.
As regards the nature of the distributed material, the appeal body finds that the promotional flyers must constitute activation tool falling under the scope of Article 5.5 of the VELUX EHF Champions League Regulations since the aforementioned article 3 does not set forth any exhaustive lists of prohibited items and also since they are part of a promotional campaign to raise the awareness of spectators regarding a brand competing with an EHF exclusive partner.
As regards the proportionality of the fine, the Court of Appeal underlines that violating an exclusive EHF partner right is a serious offence.
Furthermore, the club committed the violation twice with the awareness and willingness of doing so despite a reminder sent by the EHFM in between both rounds. Finally, the club had been punished for similar infringements less than five years ago which constitutes a case of recidivism.
Consequently, the EHF Court of Appeal confirms the decision of the Court of Handball. The club must pay a fine of €10.000, €3.500 of which is imposed on a suspended basis for a period of 2 years.
A recourse to the EHF Court of Arbitration may be filed within twenty-one days but shall not have any suspensive effect.
TEXT: EHF / br