The increasing commercialisation of sport raises important questions concerning regulation. The development of the European Union (EU) and the internationalization of sporting competition have added an international dimension to this debate. Yet sport is not only a business, it is a social and cultural activity. Can regulation at the EU level reconcile this tension? Adopting a distinctive legal and political analysis, this book argues that the EU is receptive to the claim of sport for special treatment before the law. It investigates the birth of EU sports law and policy by examining the impact of the Bosman ruling and other important European Court of Justice decisions, the relationship between sport and EU competition law, focusing particularly on the broadcasting of sport, the organization of sport and the international transfer system, and the relationship between sport and the EU Treaty, focusing in particular on the impact of the Amsterdam and Nice declarations on sport and the significance of the Helsinki report on sport. This text raises questions concerning the appropriate theoretical tools for analysing European integration.
seen the birth of a discrete area of
sports law operating within the context of a more holistic EU sports policy.
EU sports law and policy
The Bosmanruling was a turning point for sport. It led to the creation of the
sports policy subsystem. Actors unhappy at the economic Single Market
approach the ECJ adopted in relation to sport, co-ordinated their activity to
seek greater protection for sport from the application of EU law. As each
coalition possessed the ability to undermine each other other’s deep and
policy core belief systems, coalition mediation took place
should be included as an area of formal competence in the Treaty.
The Bosman setback 1995–1997
The 1995 Bosmanruling represented a set back for many socio-cultural
actors despite the Larive report’s desire to see the lifting of restrictions placed
on the movement of sportsmen and women. Bosman confirmed the predominance of the EU’s market-based definition of sport at the expense of the
social definition. In short, the Bosman approach was inconsistent with the
Reconciling sport and law
The Pack report on the Role of the European Union in the
The birth of EU
sports law and policy
Despite the absence of a Treaty base, the EU currently operates a sports
policy. This policy is the product of activity within the EU’s sports policy subsystem, a subsystem formed in response to the infamous Bosmanruling.
Prior to that the EU operated a highly polarised and fragmented sports policy
characterised by two conflicting policy approaches to sport. First, the EU
took a fleeting regulatory interest in sport. The ECJ and the Competition
Policy Directorate intervened in sport to correct free movement and
the Treaty provisions relating to the free movement of workers and the right of establishment and the freedom to provide
services. The third section analyses the significance of the ECJ rulings in
Walrave, Donà and Heylens. Section four examines the impact of the
Bosmanruling and section five reviews the case law in Deliège and
Lehtonen. The final section draws some conclusions.
Sport and the European Court of Justice
The European Court of Justice and European integration
Most writers agree that the ECJ’s activities have made an important contribution to
not always easy. Some of the most
important are as follows:
Legal norms The build up of legal norms is crucial to the construction of
a policy environment (governance regime) within which policy evolution
takes place. In particular, ECJ jurisprudence or the Competition Policy
Directorates quasi-jurisprudence shapes this environment. The relationship
between the ECJ’s work and that of the Commission is very close. The
Commission’s use of the Court’s Cassis de Dijon judgment to promote
mutual recognition is one example.6 The close relationship between the
choose, they also impose restrictions on the ability of players to seek alternative employment at another club.
The Bosmanruling established that out of contract international transfer
payments and nationality quotas were incompatible with Article 39. EU law
therefore goes some way to protect the right of free movement for players in
the EU. The rights of clubs to freely employ labour was not however guaranteed and some restrictions on players remained after Bosman. Although
the ECJ did not answer the question concerning the compatibility of the