JJB brings in big gun Grabiner on OFT

JJB Sports has drafted in £1,000-an-hour QC Lord Grabiner to argue its appeal against the Office of Fair Trading’s (OFT) whopping £8.37m retail price-fixing fine on football shirts.
JJB reacted furiously when it was given the largest fine following the OFT’s decision that it rigged the price of football shirts along with other retailers, the Football Association and sports manufacturer Umbro.
In a statement, the company furiously claimed, “JJB is of the opinion that the OFT investigation was politically motivated.”
Grabiner, as revealed by The Lawyer in April, is one of an elite club of QCs who can command in excess of £1,000 per hour in fees and is one of the most highly regarded barristers in the country.
Sources close to the football shirts’ price-fixing investigation expressed surprise at Grabiner’s instruction on the grounds that he is not a competition specialist. However, he is one of the bar’s genuine heavyweights and his junior, Mark Hoskins of Brick Court, has substantial experience in competition appeals.
A major concern for both manufacturers and retailers involved in the football shirts investigation is that the OFT is running a related inquiry into price-rigging in all branded sportswear.