Rangers have been accused of conspiring to illegally fix the prices of club merchandise with JD Sports and Elite Sports.
The two apparel companies are said to have priced a number of Rangers-branded replica kits and other apparel products from September 2018 until at least July 2019.
The football club also took part in the alleged collusion, fixing the retail price of replica short-sleeved home shirts for adults from September 2018 to at least mid-November 2018, the British competition watchdog has found .
The three parties would have agreed to ensure that the price of the kit was not cheaper at JD Sports than at the Elite Gers Online store, the Competition and Markets Authority said.
Elite were the manufacturer of Rangers branded clothing and JD Sports were the only UK-wide retailer selling club clothing at the time.
The CMA said Rangers became concerned at the start of the 2018-19 football season when JD Sports sold the replica Rangers top at a lower price than Elite, who were then considered the so-called partner club retail.
They then allegedly conspired with JD to raise the price by almost 10%, from £55 to £60.
Additionally, Elite and JD – this time without Rangers’ involvement – worked together to price Rangers-branded apparel – including training wear and replica kit – over a longer period, according to the report. AMC.
The watchdog warned the three that they would face fines if found to have breached competition law.
CMA’s Michael Grenfell said: “Football fans are well known for their loyalty to their teams.
“We are concerned that in this case Elite, JD Sports and, to some extent, Rangers, have colluded to keep prices high, so that both retailers can pocket more money for themselves at the expense of fans. »
Rangers said they would review the interim findings before entering a response, adding they “treat this matter very seriously”.
The club said in a statement: “Rangers note that it has cooperated with the CMA since the start of the investigation and will continue to do so. »
JD Sports Fashion said it plans to set aside a stipend of around £2million to cover any CMA fines and legal costs in its annual results for the year to January 29, which it will publish “soon”.
JD and Elite confessed to ‘cartel activity’
Companies found guilty of violating competition law can be fined up to 10% of their annual turnover.
However, the companies could receive reduced fines if JD Sports and Elite continue to cooperate with the investigation.
The CMA also said the two brands confessed to cartel activities.
Elite Sports have been approached for comment by Sky News.