In what is probably the last remaining piece of litigation arising from the ‘Super League’ war between News Limited and the ARL the High Court has dismissed the last of the challenges launched against the merger arrangements.

The South Sydney club challenged the arrangements under s45D of the Trade Practices Act on the basis that the restriction to the number of clubs amounted to an unlawful restraint of trade in that it was an arrangement between two competitors (ie News Limited and the ARL) for the purpose of ‘preventing, restricting or limiting’ the supply of goods or services to the public.

The court said that whilst the effect of the arrangement was in fact to limit the number of teams, from twenty-two to fourteen, and to reduce the number of competitions from two to one, the purpose of the arrangement was to structure a viable national competition and not to limit competition.

On that basis the arrangement was held to be a lawful restraint of trade and so was perfectly valid.