CCPC concludes examination of Athletics Ireland complaints

Dec 22, 2023 11:12 By Dave Hooper
CCPC concludes examination of Athletics Ireland complaints
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CCPC concludes examination of complaints relating to the Athletics Association of Ireland

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has made five recommendations to Athletics Ireland after a recent anti-competition investigation.

Shannonside sport reported in April; an anti-competition challenge had been logged against Athletics Ireland (AAI), following the introduction of their one-day license fee in January.

A statement to Shannonside Sport from the CCPC read;

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has concluded its recent engagement with the Athletics Association of Ireland (AAI). The AAI are the national governing body for athletics in Ireland.

The AAI issues ‘permits’ to organisers of athletic events (such as track and field meetings, road races or cross-country events) to certify that these events satisfy the AAI’s essential organisational requirements regarding consistency in race standards and health and safety practices. Participation in such AAI-permitted events can be considered as official participation for satisfying qualification criteria in other athletic events. In order to obtain an AAI permit, event organisers are required to use the AAI’s chosen online race registration platform, EventMaster, to register participants in that event. Through this online race registration system, organisers can populate entry forms, collect entry fees, register their participants, and record relevant data and share this information with the AAI.

The CCPC’s engagement with the AAI followed a number of complaints made to the CCPC which alleged that an exclusive arrangement between the AAI and EventMaster, for the provision of online race registration services, was anti-competitive in nature as event organisers are required to use EventMaster as an online race registration provider in order to obtain an AAI permit and could not use other online race registration providers for their event. As part of its examination of these complaints, the CCPC sought information in relation to the AAI’s tender process for the provision of online race registration services. The CCPC sought clarification that AAI members would not be restricted from participating in races organised without an AAI permit. The CCPC also reviewed the contracts between the AAI and EventMaster.


During its review, the CCPC did not uncover evidence to suggest that the AAI’s decision to use an exclusive online event registration provider for the contracted period, in itself, raised competition concerns. Based on the information available to it, the CCPC is of the view that the three-year partnership (2023 – 2026) between the AAI and EventMaster for the provision of online race registration services does not appear to be unduly restrictive.

The AAI confirmed to the CCPC that race organisers are not restricted from organising races without an AAI permit and AAI members are not restricted from running in such non-permitted races. The CCPC considers that this confirmation reduces concerns of any potential restriction on competition as race organisers have the option to set up non-permitted races with their chosen service providers.

However, considering the AAI’s potentially dominant role as the national governing body for athletics and the issuer of permits for athletic events, the CCPC made a number of recommendations to the AAI to ensure its processes are compliant with relevant competition law.  The AAI has accepted these recommendations.

  1. The AAI will put in place a formal and robust tender process for any future procurement of online race registration services.
  2. The AAI will implement a process for recording and considering feedback received from their stakeholders, e.g., race organisers, race timers, county boards and running associations, with regards to future procurement impacting stakeholders.
  3. The AAI will not place any restrictions on AAI members participating in races that are held without an AAI permit in the Republic of Ireland.
  4. The AAI will not restrict the holding of non-permitted races in the Republic of Ireland
  5. The AAI will remove all references to restrictions on AAI members running in non-permitted races from all AAI documentation

The AAI confirmed that these recommended procedural changes will be in place by the end of 2023.

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