Asser International Sports Law Blog

Our International Sports Law Diary
The Asser International Sports Law Centre is part of the T.M.C. Asser Instituut

Unpacking Doyen’s TPO deals - Introduction

The football world has been buzzing with Doyen’s name for a few years now. Yet, in practice very little is known about the way Doyen Sports (the Doyen entity involved in the football business) operates. The content of the contracts it signs with clubs was speculative, as they are subjected to strict confidentiality policies. Nonetheless, Doyen became a political (and public) scapegoat and is widely perceived as exemplifying the ‘TPOisation’ of football. This mythical status of Doyen is also entertained by the firm itself, which has multiplied the (until now failed) legal actions against FIFA’s TPO ban (on the ban see our blog symposium here) in a bid to attract attention and to publicly defend its business model. In short, it has become the mysterious flag bearer of TPO around the world. Thanks to a new anonymous group, inspired by the WikiLeaks model, we can now better assess how Doyen Sports truly functions. Since 5 November someone has been publishing different types of documents involving more or less directly the work of Doyen in football. These documents are all freely available at By doing so, the group has given us (legal scholars not involved directly in the trade) the opportunity to finally peruse the contractual structure of a TPO deal offered by Doyen and, as we purport to show in the coming weeks, to embark upon a journey into Doyen’s TPO-world. More...

Book Review: Questioning the (in)dependence of the Court of Arbitration for Sport

Book Review: Vaitiekunas A (2014) The Court of Arbitration for Sport : Law-Making and the Question of Independence, Stämpfli Verlag, Berne, CHF 89,00

The book under review is the published version of a PhD thesis defended in 2013 by Andrew Vaitiekunas at Melbourne Law School. A PhD is often taking stock of legal developments rather than anticipating or triggering them. This was definitely not the case of this book. Its core subject of interest is the study of the independence of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) – an issue that has risen to prominence with the recent Pechstein ruling of January 2015 of the Oberlandesgericht München. It is difficult to be timelier indeed. More...

The Court of Arbitration for Sport after Pechstein: Reform or Revolution?

The Pechstein ruling of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) München rocked the sports arbitration world earlier this year (see our initial commentary of the decision here and a longer version here). The decision has been appealed to the German Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), the highest German civil court, and the final word on the matter is not expected before 2016. In any event, the case has the merit of putting a long-overdue reform of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) back on the agenda. The last notable reform of the structure and functioning of the CAS dates back to 1994, and was already triggered by a court ruling, namely the famous Gundel case of the Swiss Federal Tribunal (SFT). Since then, the role of the CAS has shifted and its practical significance has radically changed (the growth of CAS’s caseload has been exponential). It has become the most visible arbitration court in Switzerland in terms of the number of awards appealed to the SFT, but more importantly it deals with all the high-profile disputes that arise in global sport: think, for instance, of Pistorius, the recent Dutee Chand decision or the upcoming FIFA elections.More...

Sports governance 20 years after Bosman: Back to the future… or not? By Borja García

Editor's note:

Dr Borja García joined the School of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences at Loughbourough University in January 2009 as a Lecturer in Sport Management and Policy. He holds a PhD in Politics, International Relations and European Studies from Loughborough University (United Kingdom), where he completed his thesis titled ‘The European Union and the Governance of Football: A game of levels and agendas’.


In this leafy and relatively mild autumn, we are celebrating two important anniversaries. Recently, we just passed ‘Back to the Future day’, marking the arrival of Marty McFly to 2015. In a few weeks, we will be commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Bosman ruling. Difficult to decide which one of the two is more important. As we move well into the 21st century’s second decade, these two dates should mark a moment to consider innovation. They are perhaps occasions to take stock and reflect how much sport has evolved to reach this new future… or not. More...

The 2006 World Cup Tax Evasion Affair in Germany: A short guide. By Gesa Kuebek

Editor's note:

Gesa Kuebek holds an LLM and graduated from the University of Bologna, Gent and Hamburg as part of the Erasmus Mundus Master Programme in Law and Economics and now work as an intern for the Asser Instituut.

On Monday, 9 November, the German Football Association (DFB) announced in a Press Release the resignation of its head, Wolfgang Niersbach, over the 2006 World Cup Affair. In his statement, Niersbach argued that he had “no knowledge whatsoever” about any “payments flows” and is now being confronted with proceedings in which he was “never involved”. However, he is now forced to draw the “political consequences” from the situation. His resignation occurred against the backdrop of last week’s raid of the DFB’s Frankfurt headquarters and the private homes Niersbach, his predecessor Theo Zwanziger and long-standing DFB general secretary Horst R. Schmidt. The public prosecutor’s office investigates a particularly severe act of tax evasion linked to awarding the 2006 World Cup. The 2006 German “summer fairy-tale” came under pressure in mid-October 2015, after the German magazine “Der Spiegel” shocked Fußballdeutschland by claiming that it had seen concrete evidence proving that a €6.7 million loan, designated by the FIFA for a “cultural programme”, ended up on the account of Adidas CEO Robert-Louis Dreyfuß. The magazine further argued that the money was in fact a secret loan that was paid back to Dreyfuß. Allegedly, the loan was kept off the books intentionally in order to be used as bribes to win the 2006 World Cup bid. The public prosecutor now suspects the DFB of failing to register the payment in tax returns. German FA officials admit that the DFB made a “mistake” but deny all allegations of vote buying. However, the current investigations show that the issues at stakes remain far from clear, leaving many questions regarding the awarding of the 2006 World Cup unanswered.

The present blog post aims to shed a light on the matter by synthetizing what we do know about the 2006 World Cup Affair and by highlighting the legal grounds on which the German authorities investigate the tax evasion. More...

Blog Symposium: Ensuring proportionate sanctions under the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code. By Mike Morgan

Introduction: The new WADA Code 2015
Day 1: The impact of the revised World Anti-Doping Code on the work of National Anti-Doping Agencies
Day 2: The “Athlete Patient” and the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code: Competing Under Medical Treatment
Day 3: Proof of intent (or lack thereof) under the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code

Editor's note
Mike Morgan is the founding partner of Morgan Sports Law LLP. His practice is focused exclusively on the sports sector. He advises on regulatory and disciplinary issues and has particular experience advising on doping and corruption disputes.

Mike acted on behalf of National Olympic Committees at three of the last four Olympic Games and has represented other sports bodies, clubs and high profile athletes in proceedings before the High Court, the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber, the American Arbitration Association and the Court of Arbitration for Sport. More...

Blog Symposium: Proof of intent (or lack thereof) under the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code. By Howard L. Jacobs

Introduction: The new WADA Code 2015
Day 1: The impact of the revised World Anti-Doping Code on the work of National Anti-Doping Agencies
Day 2: The “Athlete Patient” and the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code: Competing Under Medical Treatment
Day 4: Ensuring proportionate sanctions under the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code

Editor's note

Howard Jacobs is solo practitioner in the Los Angeles suburb of Westlake Village, California. Mr. Jacobs has been identified by various national newspapers and publications as one of the leading sports lawyers in the world. His law practice focuses on the representation of athletes in all types of disputes, with a particular focus on the defense of athletes charged with doping offenses.Mr. Jacobs has represented numerous professional athletes, Olympic athletes, world record holders,  and amateur athletes in disputes involving doping, endorsements, unauthorized use of name and likeness, salary issues, team selection issues, and other matters.  He is at the forefront of many cutting edge legal issues that affect athletes, winning cases that have set precedents that have benefited the athlete community. More information is available at More...

Blog Symposium: The “Athlete Patient” and the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code: Competing Under Medical Treatment. By Marjolaine Viret and Emily Wisnosky

Introduction: The new WADA Code 2015
Day 1: The impact of the revised World Anti-Doping Code on the work of National Anti-Doping Agencies
Day 3: Proof of intent (or lack thereof) under the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code
Day 4: Ensuring proportionate sanctions under the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code

Editor's Note
Marjolaine Viret: An attorney-at-law at the Geneva bar, specialising in sports and health law. Her doctoral work in anti-doping was awarded a summa cum laude by the University of Fribourg in early 2015. She gained significant experience in sports arbitration as a senior associate in one of Switzerland’s leading law firms, advising clients, including major sports federations, on all aspects of anti-doping. She also holds positions within committees in sports organisations and has been involved in a variety of roles in the implementation of the 2015 WADC. Her book “Evidence in Anti-Doping at the Intersection of Science & Law” is scheduled for publication in 2015.

Emily Wisnosky: An attorney-at-law admitted to the California bar, she currently participates in the WADC 2015 Commentary research project as a doctoral researcher. She also holds an LLM from the University of Geneva in International Dispute Settlement, with a focus on sports arbitration. Before studying law, she worked as a civil engineer. More...

Blog Symposium: The impact of the revised World Anti-Doping Code on the work of National Anti-Doping Agencies. By Herman Ram

Introduction: The new WADA Code 2015
Day 2: The “Athlete Patient” and the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code: Competing Under Medical Treatment
Day 3: Proof of intent (or lack thereof) under the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code
Day 4: Ensuring proportionate sanctions under the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code

Editor's note
Herman Ram is the Chief Executive Officer of the Anti-Doping Authority the Netherlands, which is the National Anti-Doping Organization of the country. He has held this position since 2006. After working twelve years as a librarian, Herman Ram started his career in sport management in 1992, when he became Secretary general of the Royal Netherlands Chess Federation. In 1994, he moved on to the same position at the Netherlands Badminton Federation. He was founder and first secretary of the Foundation for the Promotion of Elite Badminton that was instrumental in the advancement of Dutch badminton. In 2000 he was appointed Secretary general of the Netherlands Ski Federation, where he focused, among other things, on the organization of large snowsports events in the Netherlands. Since his appointment as CEO of the Anti-Doping Authority, he has developed a special interest in legal, ethical and managerial aspects of anti-doping policies, on which he has delivered numerous presentations and lectures. On top of that, he acts as Spokesperson for the Doping Authority. Herman Ram holds two Master’s degrees, in Law and in Sport Management. More...

Blog Symposium: The new WADA Code 2015 - Introduction

Day 1: The impact of the revised World Anti-Doping Code on the work of National Anti-Doping Agencies
Day 2: The “Athlete Patient” and the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code: Competing Under Medical Treatment
Day 3: Proof of intent (or lack thereof) under the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code
Day 4: Ensuring proportionate sanctions under the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code

On 1 January, a new version of the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC or Code) entered into force. This blog symposium aims at taking stock of this development and at offering a preliminary analysis of the key legal changes introduced. The present blog will put the WADC into a more general historical and political context. It aims to briefly retrace the emergence of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and its Code. It will also reconstruct the legislative process that led to the adoption of the WADC 2015 and introduce the various contributions to the blog symposium.More...

Asser International Sports Law Blog | Can European Citizens Participate in National Championships? An Analysis of AG Tanchev’s Opinion in TopFit e.V. Daniele Biffi v Deutscher Leichtathletikverband e.V. - By Thomas Terraz

Asser International Sports Law Blog

Our International Sports Law Diary
The Asser International Sports Law Centre is part of the T.M.C. Asser Instituut

Can European Citizens Participate in National Championships? An Analysis of AG Tanchev’s Opinion in TopFit e.V. Daniele Biffi v Deutscher Leichtathletikverband e.V. - By Thomas Terraz

Editor’s note: Thomas Terraz is a third year LL.B. candidate at the International and European Law programme at The Hague University of Applied Sciences with a specialisation in European Law. Currently he is pursuing an internship at the T.M.C. Asser Institute with a focus on International and European Sports Law.

1.     Introduction

To many it may seem obvious that athletes in a national championship should only be able to participate if they have the nationality of the relevant state. The Dutch Road Cycling National Championships should have Dutch cyclists, and the German Athletics Championships should have German athletes and so forth. However, in reality, foreign competitors are allowed to participate in many national championships in the EU, and there is a wide discrepancy between the rules of national sport governing bodies on this issue. There is no unified practice when investigating this point by country or by sport, and rules on participation range from a complete ban on foreign competitors to absolutely no mention of foreign athletes.[1] Thus, the question arises: should foreign athletes be able to participate in national sport championships?

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) will soon be required to provide an, at least partial, answer to this dilemma as a result of an application for a preliminary ruling.  A German Court has referred three questions to the CJEU on the case TopFit e.V. Daniele Biffi v Deutscher Leichtathletikverband e.V. (DLV) which in essence ask whether EU citizenship rights and in particular, the requirement of non-discrimination on the basis of nationality, should be applied to non-nationals wishing to participate in an athletics national championship in Germany. In the meantime, the Advocate General (AG), who provides a non-binding opinion to the Court before a decision is delivered, Evgeni Tanchev has delivered an interesting opinion on the case. It addresses the claims from the applicants based on EU citizenship rights and urges the CJEU to instead review the case on the basis of the freedom of establishment.

This blog will dissect the AG’s opinion to assess the main arguments put forward in relation to freedom of establishment and EU citizenship. Furthermore, it will weigh the ramifications this case may have on the boundaries of EU law in relation to sport. To fully appreciate the AG’s opinion, it is necessary to first discuss the intriguing factual and legal background colouring this case. After all, this will not be the first time the CJEU faces thorny issues concerning discrimination on the basis of nationality and sport.


2.     Factual Background of TopFit e.V. Daniele Biffi v Deutscher Leichtathletikverband e.V. (DLV)

The second applicant in this case, Mr. Biffi, is an Italian resident in Germany since 2003. He works professionally as a personal trainer and coach and has a website which advertises his services. He has been a member of the Berlin-based athletics club TopFit (the first applicant) and has competed in athletics competitions including German national championships within the senior category of athletes above the age of 35. In these national competitions, he had his placings recorded and published his results on his website. In 2016, the DLV changed its rules on non-nationals participating in national championships across all age categories without notice or transitional period. The rules were changed to only allow German nationals to compete for the national title while non-nationals could only participate outside classification with the permission of the organisers. As a result, Mr. Biffi was even denied the ability to participate in one of the championships in which he previously participated without raising a brow. The applicants challenged the DLV rule on the basis that it is in contravention to the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of nationality under EU citizenship. 


3.     European Sports Law and Nationality Based Discrimination

Generally, sport governing bodies aim to have the maximum autonomy possible to formulate and apply their rules. In the EU, they have attempted and ultimately failed at securing an absolute autonomy.[2] The current relationship between the sport governing bodies and the EU has been described as a ‘conditional autonomy’ where sport governing bodies may exercise their discretion in formulating and applying their rules so long as they do not conflict with EU law.[3] It should be noted that the CJEU has mainly scrutinized rules from sport governing bodies which affect economic interests of the parties in the context of free movement and competition law. Evidently, this relationship has resulted in a struggle between sport governing bodies and the EU over a number of topics including non-discrimination on the basis of nationality.

Traditionally, the CJEU has addressed issues of non-discrimination on the basis of nationality in sports cases from a free movement perspective in ensuring that sport rules do not disrupt the EU’s internal market. For example, when a rule from the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) required that a pacemaker be the same nationality as the cyclist in the UCI Motor-paced World Championships, the CJEU rendered its ruling on the basis of the provisions establishing the free movement of workers and service providers. Moreover, the Union of European Football Associations’ (UEFA) 3 plus 2 rule which allowed football clubs to limit the number of foreign players who could play in a match to three players plus two more players who had been ‘assimilated’ by having played a certain amount of years in the concerned national football association were found in the famous Bosman case to be in contravention of the free movement of workers provisions.

In the present case, the parties have argued the case on the basis of the prohibition on the discrimination of nationality flowing from EU citizenship rights. Based on Article 9 of the Treaty on European Union, all nationals of an EU member state automatically have EU citizenship. However, these rights are only triggered when other more specific rights, such as free movement rights, are not activated first. Put differently, if the facts of a case fall within a free movement right, then the case can only be inspected in light of the relevant free movement provision; hence, EU citizenship rights may only be invoked where free movement rights are not applicable.

Interestingly enough, as the AG points out in his opinion, the facts of this case could also be framed as a restriction to freedom of establishment. In any event, the CJEU has yet to address sport rules which concern non-discrimination on the basis of freedom of establishment or EU citizenship.

So how should the CJEU address this issue? Freedom of establishment or EU citizenship rights?


4.     Analysing AG Tanchev’s Opinion: Freedom of Establishment or EU Citizenship Rights?

4.1.Scope of the Freedom of Establishment

Very early on in the opinion, AG Tanchev unambiguously expresses his preference for analysing the present case through a free movement lens.[4] He explains that Mr. Biffi is self-employed as a personal trainer and coach on a continuous and stable manner in Germany which amounts to an economic activity connected to his sporting pursuits.[5] Therefore, AG Tanchev believes the analysis should be pursued under the freedom of establishment provisions. For this view to be endorsed, it is essential that Mr. Biffi’s economic activity is sufficiently connected to his sporting endeavours.

In this context, AG Tanchev recalls the Deliège case which concerned a Judoka, who argued that a national sport governing body’s refusal to select her for an international competition was a violation of her freedom to provide services. The Court in that case had to determine whether she was engaged in an economic activity in order for the fundamental freedom to apply. In doing so, the Court unequivocally states that simply because a sport governing body labels its athlete an amateur, it does not mean that they are automatically disengaged from economic activity, and economic activities in the context of free movement of services should not be interpreted restrictively.[6] Therefore, the Court in the Deliège case focused on the judoka’s sponsorships deals and grants to conclude that she was engaged in economic activities.[7] AG Tanchev, in examining the Deliège case’s relevance, explains that this demonstrates EU law’s flexibility in finding a link between sporting and economic activities, and that even if the DLV’s rules only have an ‘indirect impact’ on Mr. Biffi’s economic activities, it should fall within the scope of the freedom of establishment.[8]

4.2.Restriction on the Freedom of Establishment and Justifications

The opinion then goes on to find that there has been a restriction of Mr. Biffi’s freedom of establishment because the DLV rule puts Mr. Biffi ‘at a disadvantage when compared with German nationals engaged in the provision of athletic training services’ because he is unable ‘to make reference to his achievements in national sporting championships in order to attract business.’ Furthermore, he states that consumers are ‘more likely to be drawn to an athletics coach advertising on-going excellence … in the national athletics championships.’[9] Given that the DLV rule is directly discriminatory, EU law only allows justification under the express derogations enshrined in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). The DLV would have had a larger window to defend their rules if they were indirectly discriminatory since the CJEU accepts both express derogations and justifications which have been developed by its own case law.

AG Tanchev readily finds that the DLV’s rules fall under the public policy derogation by aiming to ensure that the winner of the national title has a ‘sufficiently strong link’ with the country organising the championship and to ensure that the national selection of athletes for international competitions is not disrupted. It could be argued that these aims have been too easily advanced as public policy objectives. The CJEU has never accepted the former as a derogation or a justification, and concerning the latter, the CJEU has accepted objectives which ensure national representation in international competitions only as justifications. Since justifications developed by the CJEU generally are not applicable to cases of direct discrimination, such as the present case, it can be said that the opinion perhaps too quickly embraces these pursued aims as public policy objectives. This being said, sport already enjoyed a special treatment in the past as the CJEU has been open to consider justifications for directly discriminatory measures in the Bosman case.

4.3.Is the DLV’s measure proportionate?

Assuming that these aims are accepted as express derogations, the DLV measures must then pass proportionality requirements which in EU law require a measure to be suitable for the pursued aim and necessary to achieve those aims. In the sporting context, the CJEU has explained that in order for a sporting rule to be proportionate it must be limited to its proper objective and it must be inherent to the organization of the sport event.[10] AG Tanchev affirms that the measure is disproportionate because the rule disallows Mr. Biffi from competing for the national title and precludes classification in such a competition when for many years he had been allowed to compete and be classified as any other German athlete.[11] Furthermore, given he had this pre-existing right, the DLV’s failure to take any transitional measures or give sufficient notice of this change violates the legitimate expectations of Mr. Biffi who exercised his free movement in reliance of this established regime and infringes the general principle of acquired rights.[12] Thus, it can be inferred that in AG Tanchev’s view, the measure could have been proportionate had there been sufficient transitional measures in place. Such a broad interpretation of proportionality by including the non-national's right to compete for the national title, would greatly restrict the options of a sport governing body wanting to change a rule that could negatively affect the participation of non-nationals in their national competitions.

If this broad approach is not accepted, AG Tanchev contends the measure is still disproportionate since the DLV’s rules potentially exclude non-national participants from competing at all in the national championships. Such a measure could only be legitimate in ‘unusual circumstances.’ In this vein, the opinion suggests less restrictive rules which instead limit the number of non-classified athletes.[13]

Other alternative models have been suggested which are much more likely to pass the proportionality test. One commentator has suggested that non-nationals should be allowed to compete in national championships while perhaps only restricting their ability to actually win the title.[14] If applied to this case, this model would allow Mr. Biffi to participate with classification in the national championships, but if he (or other non-national) were to take the first place, the national title would be given to the highest classified German athlete in the competition. Another model put forward in a recent study suggests that a non-national can only compete in the national championship after having been resident or being member of a local club for a certain period of time. All of these suggestions show that there are a multitude of less restrictive ways to protect the organisation of national championships and the selection process of national athletes for international competitions. An outright ban on participation or only allowing participation outside of classification is remarkably restrictive and has very little chance of passing the necessity requirements under proportionality.

Overall, the argument that this case should be analysed from the freedom of establishment perspective is rather convincing because the economic dimension is clearly present. However, there is still a possibility that the CJEU will follow the line of arguments brought by the applicants based on EU citizenship rights addressed at the end of AG Tanchev’s opinion.

4.4.EU Citizenship Rights

AG Tanchev begins by explaining that even if non-discrimination on the basis of nationality deriving from EU citizenship are applied, the result of the case should be the same because the stated aims of the DLV simply do not meet the proportionality requirements.[15]  However, the opinion goes on to firmly oppose the application of EU citizenship rights in this context.

In its submissions, the Commission had strongly endorsed a view that access to leisure activities should always fall within the scope of EU citizenship rights. AG Tanchev disagrees with such a wide-ranging interpretation because it would be a huge ‘constitutional step’ to give Article 21 TFEU horizontal direct effect, meaning a private party could invoke this provision in a national court against another private party. He maintains that this provision is meant to only have vertical direct effect, where a private party may invoke this provision in a national court against the state. He explains that extending horizontal direct effect to this rather open-ended provision would have a capricious effect that would damage legal certainty because Article 21 TFEU ‘comes into play in the broad and unpredictable range of circumstances’ where applicants are ‘unable to show a link between what is in issue and economic activities’ or ‘fall outside of EU legislation concerning freedom of movement.’[16] On the other hand, one could argue the very purpose of this Article is to provide EU citizens with other means to dispute measures which harm their free movement, and such a restricted interpretation would damage l’effet utile of this provision.   

While it is probably the case that Mr. Biffi’s circumstances fall within the scope of his free movement rights, imagine if he did not have any economic interest, and instead of a coach and personal trainer, he was an accountant or car mechanic. If AG Tanchev’s approach were to be taken in such a case, Mr. Biffi would have absolutely no recourse under EU law to challenge such a discriminatory rule. If Article 18 and 21 TFEU were to be interpreted so restrictively, private monopolistic actors who exercise powers that resemble those of a state (such as many sport governing bodies) could make the exercise of the European citizenship less attractive by limiting the participation of non-nationals in certain leisure activities. The Commission is right in taking a broad approach on this issue, although in the end it found the DLV’s rule to be proportionate, especially since Article 18 and 21 TFEU makes no express reservations against the applicability of these provisions on private parties.[17] A wide interpretation would completely fit the ‘conditional autonomy’ model in which sport rules fall within the scope of EU law, and it is for the sport governing bodies to explain how and why the rule is necessary or ‘inherent’ to the conduct of sports.


5.     Conclusion

If the CJEU finds this case to fall under the scope of the freedom of establishment, it is likely the DLV’s rules will fail to be justified or crumble under the proportionality requirements. Likewise, the outcome is likely to be the same in the improbable case that EU citizenship rights are applied. However, it truly would be a ‘constitutional step’, as AG Tanchev asserted, by greatly widening the possibility of using EU citizenship rights to challenge nationality discrimination in even amateur and leisure sport. Moreover, solidifying horizontal direct effect of the EU citizenship rights would have an impact way beyond sport related cases.

Regardless, even if Mr. Biffi’s case is examined from the freedom of establishment, it will be a momentous occasion for the CJEU to further elucidate the boundaries of the application of EU law to sport. In this respect, AG Tanchev’s opinion provides an excellent analysis of the legal issues arising from the free movement perspective and picks up on the most evident detail that all the parties in the case seemed to have glanced over: Mr. Biffi has an economic interest which is tied to his sporting activities. In the long run, the application of EU citizenship rights to sports seems inevitable, but TopFit e.V. Daniele Biffi most likely does not provide the CJEU with a golden opportunity to express itself on this matter.

[1] T.M.C. Asser Institute Report, ‘Study on the Equal Treatment of Non-Nationals in Individual Sports Competitions’ (2010).

[2] Case 36-74 B.N.O. Walrave and L.J.N. Koch v Association Union cycliste internationale, Koninklijke Nederlandsche Wielren Unie and Federación Española Ciclismo [1974] ECR 1974 –01405; Case C-415/93 Union royale belge des sociétés de football association ASBL v Jean-Marc Bosman, Royal club liégeois SA v Jean-Marc Bosman and others and Union des associations européennes de football (UEFA) v Jean-Marc Bosman [1995] ECR I-04921.

[3] Stephen Weatherill, Principles and Practice in EU Sports Law (1st edn, Oxford University Press 2017) 71.

[4] Case C-22/18 TopFit e.V. Daniele Biffi v Deutscher Leichtathletikverband e.V. [2019] ECLI:EU:C:2019:181, Opinion of AG Tanchev, para 48.

[5] ibid para 55.

[6] Joined Cases C-51/96 and C-191/97 Christelle Deliège v Ligue francophone de judo et disciplines associées ASBL, Ligue belge de judo ASBL, Union européenne de judo [2000] ECR I-02549 para 46.

[7] ibid paras 51-53.

[8] TopFit, Opinion of AG Tanchev (n 4) para 62.

[9] ibid para 70.

[10] Walrave (n 2) para 9; Deliège (n 6) para 64.

[11] TopFit, Opinion of AG Tanchev (n 4) paras 80, 88.

[12] ibid para 83.

[13] ibid paras 92-93.

[14] Weatherill (n 3) 203.

[15] TopFit, Opinion of AG Tanchev (n 4) para 97.

[16] ibid para 103.

[17] ibid paras 37-40.

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