This chapter investigates the theoretical basis for European Union (EU) sports law and policy. The arguments forwarded by intergovernmentalists and neofunctionalists are reviewed. Hoffmann's obstinate nation state restricted itself to uncontroversial economic integration. Milward argues that the EU became an external support system for Europe's nations. Moravcsik's accounts of European integration focus on the preferences and power of the member states. Neofunctionalism remains clearly distinct from the intergovernmentalist camp in that neofunctionalism de-emphasises state capabilities in the regional integration process. Sabatier's Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF) focus on competing advocacy coalitions within policy subsystems effectively captures the real nature of EU governance. He identifies a number of factors affecting the development of policy within a subsystem. The focus on the role of political institutions in shaping policy is the concern of new institutionalism. The interplay between actors and institutions creates policy-specific governance regimes within policy subsystems.
The defining characteristic of European Union (EU) sports policy is the construction of a discrete area of EU sports law. EU sports law extends beyond the mere application of law to sport, to the construction of a legal approach for dealing with sports disputes which allows both the EU's regulatory and political policy objectives for sport to co-exist within the EU sports policy framework. The emergence of a coordinated EU sports policy held together by a discrete area of sports law is a new development in the EU. The sports policy subsystem is composed of two advocacy coalitions: Single Market coalition and socio-cultural coalition. The construction of the separate territories approach for dealing with legal disputes involving sport is the defining characteristic of coordinated sports policy. The future debate on the relationship between sport and the EU will be dominated by the issues of sports law and doping.