The Albanian Competition Authority: Armand Duka is in conflict of interest with AFF, sold the television rights to the company where he acts as a shareholder
A shocking report by the Albanian Competition Authority (ACA) reveals numerous violations through several years in the Albanian Football Federation, which is led for 20 years by Armando Duka, starting with stadium tickets and the sale of broadcasting rights to the company where Duka acts as a shareholder.
The report states that Armando Duka owns 9.23% in shares of the Albanian company “DIGITALB”, to which he has given all television rights for the Albanian National Team matches. Also, Duka has 22% in shares of “AMA Coffee” company, which is a sponsor of the AFF.
“The administered materials point out that there is a correlation of property interests of the legal representatives of the Albanian Football Federation as a shareholders in the “DIGITALB” company. From the extracts of the National Bussines Center results that A.I.B.A company, which is solely owned by Mr. Armand Duka, owns 9.23% in shares of the “DIGITALB” company. Also, Mr. Armand Duka, owns 22.5% of the capital in the sponsoring company AMA Coffee (New Century), where Duka acts at the same time as the legal representative of the Albanian Football Federation”, the ACA report states.
According to the forementioned report, the AFF is in a dominant position not only for the organization and administration of football activities, but also for all economic sport activities, including audiovisual, radio recording, reproduction, broadcasting rights, advertising, etc. According to the Albanian Competition Authority, the AFF, led by Armand Duka, has abused with its dominant position, especially by selling television broadcasting rights, ticket sales for national team matches, sponsorships and advertising. The beneficiary is Armand Duka himself, who runs the AFF, but at the same time he directly or indirectly controls the companies contracted by the AFF for television rights and sponsorships.
"The exclusivity of a longer duration and for a wider range of rights can restrict competition by excluding other operators in the market, especially when we are dealing with operators with a dominant position in both markets. Giving absolute exclusivity in terms of the scope and duration of the broadcasting right to a single buyer restricts the market. The broadcasting rights defined in the licensing contract have been licensed to DIGITALB on an exclusive basis”, the ACA report further states.
According to the Competition Authority, the sale of the audiovisual right to a single operator for a long period and including in a single package all the exclusive rights, constitutes an exclusive behavior and consequently restricts the market.
“Another abuse in favor of DIGITALB is the right to sell the match "Highlights". This additional exclusive right restricts competition, as it deprives companies operating in the audiovisual market from the opportunity to participate, and it constitutes an abuse of a dominant position”, the report states.
Albanian prosecutors have launched an investigation into the Albanian Football Federation officials and it’s head Armando Duka.
The investigation has started last week after the Albanian State Police made a referral against Armando Duka to the Tirana Prosecution for the criminal offenses of "power abuse" and "theft by abuse of duty”.