Richard Parrish

1 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 Bosman ruling. 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

in Sports law and policy in the European Union
Richard Parrish

7 The future of EU sports law and policy A central objective of this text was to place some order on the seemingly random and ad hoc impulses of EU activity in the sports sector. The book claims that today’s EU sports policy has developed out of a policy tension within the EU. The tension between the Single Market regulatory impulses of EU activity in sport and the EU’s political policy objectives for sport has contributed to the birth of a EU sports policy defined by the construction of the separate territories approach. In other words a distinct legal approach

in Sports law and policy in the European Union
Richard Parrish

2 Towards a theory of EU sports law and policy Traditionally in Britain, sports law has not been a theorised area of study. To some extent this unsatisfactory state of affairs still persists despite the teaching of sports law as an academic discipline on a growing number of University programmes. Sports law programmes are run by the Anglia Polytechnic University, Kings College, the Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Westminster. The reporting and analysis of sports law is improving. Since 1993 the British Association for Sport and the Law

in Sports law and policy in the European Union
Author: Richard Parrish

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.

Open Access (free)
Richard Parrish

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 demonstrated, EU law can have a profound impact on sport. Although this brief explanation does not justify the label ‘EU sports law’, it does explain

in Sports law and policy in the European Union
Richard Parrish

subsystem is significant. As Beloff et al. argue, ‘the cornerstone of what could be called the founding principles of sports law is the definition of the respective territories of the courts and the bodies which govern sport’ (Beloff et al. 1999: 4). By constructing separate territories within the context of the EU’s legal system, the EU has acknowledged the existence of a body of law dealing specifically with sport (EU sports law). Rather than EU sports law flowing from legislative activity, the birth of sports law is a tactic employed to avoid the use of legislation

in Sports law and policy in the European Union
Richard Parrish

Competition Directorate’s post-Amsterdam approach for dealing with sport illustrates the extent to which political arguments have influenced the application of the EU law to sport. As such, these rulings/decisions are significant in that they mark the birth of an area of EU law called ‘EU sports law’. It is to this issue that the final chapter now turns. Notes 1 COM (84) 446 Final, A People’s Europe, reports from the ad hoc Committee. 2 Ibid., para. 5.9. 3 A5-0133/2002b, ‘Report on the division of competences between the European Union and the Member States’ (2001/2024(INI

in Sports law and policy in the European Union
Richard Parrish

that alternative measures such as collective wage agreements and financial redistribution between the clubs were more proportionate measures. Both mechanisms contain features that would arguably be considered illegal in ‘normal’ industries. Whilst, therefore, the ECJ’s ruling represented a damning condemnation of traditional sporting practices, it is incorrect to assume that the Court treated sport in the same manner as any other industry. Arguably, therefore, the birth of EU sports law had its roots in Bosman. Nevertheless, Bosman had more to do with the Single

in Sports law and policy in the European Union