The German Federal Cartel Office ("FCO") recently opened a formal investigation against the German Football Association ("DFB"). The regulator is concerned that the DFB abused its market power when selling tickets for DFB matches at this year’s European Championships in France. Apparently the DFB has made the purchase of tickets conditional upon a (fee-based) membership in the official fan club of the national team. The fan club was founded by the DFB in 2003.
According to an official press release, the FCO will assess whether tying the purchase of tickets to official fan club membership constituted an exploitative abuse of dominance. The head of the FCO, Mr Mundt, noted that the DFB's practice not only rendered the tickets more expensive, but required payment of the membership fee even if the application for one of the (limited) tickets was unsuccessful.