Sports Law and Policy in the European Union

Sports Law and Policy in the European Union

Sports Law and Policy in the European Union

Sports Law and Policy in the European Union

Synopsis

Adopting a distinctive legal and political analysis, this book argues that the EU is receptive to the sports sectors claims for special treatment before the law. The book investigates the birth of EU sports law and policy by examining significant court decisions, the possibility of exempting sport from EU law, sport and the EU treaty, and more.

Excerpt

Sports Law and Policy in the European Union is a deliberately provocative title. It is not widely accepted that a discrete body of sports law has emerged or is emerging within the European Union (EU) or within national jurisdictions. Furthermore, given that the EU has no legal competence to develop a sports policy, one might ask (as I was by an eminent ‘sport and the law’ lawyer), ‘what the bloody hell has the Common Market got to do with sport?’ Browsing through the list of EU activities contained in Article 3 of the EU’s Treaty, it is clear that sport has no place in the Treaty. Nevertheless, Article 3 does state that the EU is to establish an area where goods, persons, services and capital can freely circulate and where competition is not distorted. As an activity of undoubted commercial significance, sports bodies must therefore ensure that their activities do not contradict these Treaty provisions. As the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ’s) ruling in Bosman demon strated, EU law can have a profound impact on sport. Although this brief explanation does not justify the label ‘EU sports law’, it does explain why there is a relationship between sport and EU law.

The EU’s policy involvement in sport extends beyond legal regulation. Article 3 also expresses the EU’s desire to expand into more social arenas. Since the 1984 Fontainebleau Summit, the EU has attempted to extend European integration beyond the economic field by establishing a ‘people’s Europe’. In order to do so the EU intends to use sport to implement a range of social, cultural and educational policy objectives outlined in Article 3. However, the excessive commercialisation of sport combined with legal regulation at EU level threatens to undermine these political objectives. Without more co-ordinated action in the field of sport, EU policy towards sport risks being pulled apart by competing policy tensions.

Traditionally, the sports sector has developed rules which have attempted to maintain a competitive balance between participants. Given the extent of commercialisation in European sport, the maintenance of these rules is considered by many as essential. However, many of these alleged pro-competitive rules have been regarded as anti-competitive by the EU. Again, the policy . . .

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