(49) Under Article 85(1) of the Treaty, any agreement between undertakings which restricts or entails a restriction of competition in the common market is prohibited in so far as it may affect trade between Member States. However, such agreements may be exempted if they fulfil several conditions laid down in Article 85(3). (43) In July 1984, the Commission published a statement of objections on the main explanatory memorandum, in which it found that certain provisions of the IGA were contrary to Article 85(1) and did not fulfil the conditions for exemption laid down in Article 85(3). As a result of substantial changes (e.g. Β the introduction of the procedure of 30 September), a new IGA entered into force in February 1985. This new agreement was notified and a ten-year exemption was granted by Commission Decision 85/615/EEC (8). (83) The joint purchase of supplies could be considered an infringement of Article 85(1). In its Decision 80/917/EEC (National Sulphuric Acid Association) (17), the Commission found that a common sulphur purchase pool set up by an association of all sulphuric acid producers in the United Kingdom was anti-competitive. In this case, the joint sales contract was exempted, inter alia, because it guaranteed a constant supply of sulphur in times of shortage and because the members of the pool were not required to obtain sulphur through the pool. Introduction By decision of 12 April 1999, the Commission of the European Communities (the Commission) granted the 1999 International Group Agreement (IGA) a ten-year exemption from Article 85(1) of the EC Treaty with effect from 20 February 1999.
The decision ended the uncertainty that had created about the future of the IGA. This development is a good opportunity to review the context of the agreement, including its history and key elements as it stands, with a particular focus on bidding procedures. The claims-sharing mechanism provided for in the pooling agreement and the very high coverage limits made available by the group clubs under the pooling and reinsurance agreements are supported by the IGA, which is an essential element to ensure mutual trust and cooperation between the group clubs as well as for the effectiveness of the pooling agreements. . . .