It's official, the International Federation of padel (on behalf of 51 national federations) and the Association of Professional Players (on behalf of players from padel professionals) announce that they have filed a “historic complaint to the European Commission” against WPT / Estrella Damm".
According to our sources:
Never before, in the field of sport, had a federation and players been forced to lodge such a complaint with the European Commission.
The complaint concerns the World Padel Tour (WPT) – and its majority owner, the beer company Estrella Damm – under Article 101 (preventing, restricting and distorting competition) and Article 102 (abuse of a dominant position) of European law, for the Closed “Super League” they would have imposed on the padel over the past decade.
Illegal exclusive contracts and threats
The reasons for the complaint of the FIP / PPA against WPT / Estrella Damm are the following :
“In sum, WPT / Estrella Damm:
binds the players of padel totally illegal exclusive contracts;
prevents players from participating in tournaments other than the WPT, with blackout periods and extremely low prize money
offers no decision-making power for players;
threatens players with huge fines, litigation and penalties, the most recent of which is €500 (pages 000 and 14).
prevents players from participating in the Olympic Games – under the current WPT / Estrella Damm system (pages 13 and 15);”
A cartel case against the WPT and Estrella Dman considered
FIP and PPA have asked the European Commission to take transitional measures – the strongest legal action possible in this situation. At the same time, a cartel case against the WPT and Estrella Dman would also be considered.
The offensive statements of the FIP and PPA
Luigi Carraro, President of the International Federation of padel (FIP), said:
This legal action by the Federation and the Association of Professional Players before the European Commission is unprecedented.
This sheds light in the clearest terms on the abusive and monopolistic operation of the WPT, keeping players from padel under its thumb for many years – insulting professional athletes and stifling the sport's growth and ambition.
The fact that this action had to be brought in the first place is already a shocking accusation in itself. Private, closed, commercially operated and unregulated leagues – which imprison professional players – have no place in modern professional sport.
The Professional Players Association (PPA) Board of Directors said:
The fact that players of padel professionals have taken this case to the European Commission - simply to defend their freedom to gamble padel – says a lot.
For years, under the umbrella of the WPT and on secondment from the Federation, professional players were treated as assets, not athletes – with many players barely managing to cover their costs.
The European Commission should not have to intervene to liberate players and sport from padel of this sad situation, but the players will take all necessary measures to defend their interests and build a better future for the padel.
Franck Binisti discovers the padel at the Club des Pyramides in 2009 in the Paris region. Since padel is part of his life. You often see him touring France going to cover the major events of padel French.