The Role of EU Competition Law in Tackling Abuse of Regulatory Power by Sports Associations
Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law (2015), vol. 22, nr. 2
26 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2016
Date Written: April 20, 2016
In his opinion in Bosman, Advocate General Lenz called attention to the function of EU competition law to control the private regulatory power of international sports associations. The true potential of EU competition law to protect athletes and other parties against regulatory overreach by sports associations, however, remains underexplored. This article examines the prospect of an increased use of EU competition law to challenge restrictive rules or abusive conduct and, consequently, to exert influence on the governance structure and institutional features of sports associations. First, it generally assesses the extent to which the rule-making activity of sports associations relating to the organization of sport satisfies the requirements for the application of Articles 101 and 102 TFEU. It will highlight that the analytical framework gives sufficient flexibility to take into account the specific characteristics of sport. Second, to practically illustrate the nature and function of EU competition law enforcement, it analyses European and national decisional practice regarding conflicts of interest between the role of sports associations as the regulator of their sport and their commercial interests in the events that they promote and organize.
Keywords: EU competition law; antitrust; organizational sporting rules; sport; conflict of interest
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