Editor’s note: This report
compiles all relevant news, events and materials on International and European
Sports Law based on the daily coverage provided on our twitter feed @Sportslaw_asser. You are invited
to complete this survey via the comments section below, feel free to add links
to important cases, documents and articles we might have overlooked.
This month saw the conflict between FIBA Europe
and the Euroleague (more precisely its private club-supported organizing body,
Euroleague Commercial Assets or ‘ECA’) becoming further entrenched. This
dispute commenced with FIBA creating a rival Basketball Champions League, starting from the 2016-2017 season with the hope to reinstate their
hold over the organization of European championships. The ECA, a private body
that oversees the Euroleague and Eurocup, not only decided to maintain its
competitions but also announced it would reduce them to a closed, franchise-based league following a
joint-venture with IMG. In retaliation, FIBA Europe suspended fourteen
federations of its competition (with the support of FIBA) due to their support for the Euroleague project. More importantly,
this suspension could concern the 2016 Rio Olympics and the Spanish
title-holder whose federation backs up the
ECA. In February 2016, the ECA announced it had filed a complaint before the European
Commission against FIBA and FIBA Europe
as a consequence of an alleged abuse of their dominant position in forcing
national federations to rescind their participation in the Euroleague competitions.
In response, FIBA filed a complaint in April against
the ECA before the same European Commission for the same
breach of EU competition law provisions. DG Competition is expected to decide
on the opening of both cases unless the ongoing negotiations between both
parties resolves these issues first.
Sport has placed a lot of emphasis on EU
competition law in the past weeks. In a similar situation to basketball, the
FEI is fighting the emergence of the successful Longines Global Champions
League (‘LGCL’), a private worldwide horse jumping competition. The Belgian competition authority already granted interim measures to the LGCL in a dispute arising when
the FEI tried to suspend riders and horses that were participating in the
unsanctioned league from its own competitions. While still waiting for the
final decision in the case, the FEI recently suspended two of its
officials for six months following the first leg of
the LGCL in Miami.
On the media selling rights front, the German competition authority has
decided to impose the “no single buyer” obligation starting in 2017. This clause was first imposed by the European
Commission as a remedy against the risk of monopolization in the Premier League selling media rights
case. The rule is designed to ensure
that more than one TV broadcaster will win all live broadcasting rights,
changing the status quo in Germany which had previously awarded all
broadcasting rights to Sky Deutschland. The decision was made in order to
ensure that innovation on the Internet-based offering is not at risk.
The Greek government is involved in a bitter struggle
with FIFA over its decision to cancel its national
cup due to the crowd violence
witnessed this season. FIFA provided the Greek authorities with a new deadline to change their decision, otherwise the national
federation will face a suspension. An agreement between both parties
seems to have been found.
The very long awaited Hillsborough stadium
disaster decision was delivered on the 26th
of April 2016. The jury in the inquest
ruled that 96 persons were unlawfully killed 27 years ago and that the behaviour
of Liverpool fans did not contribute to the disaster. The jury also said that the
police’s planning for the match and actions on the day did contribute to the tragedy.
The prosecutor now has to decide whether criminal charges should be brought against individuals or
The UK Information Tribunal ordered the London Legacy Development Corporation (‘LLDC’), which managed the
London Olympic Stadium, to publish the deal it has with the
West Ham football club concerning the use of the stadium. The LLDC was fighting
a freedom of information campaign that argued there was not enough transparency concerning this contract.
West Ham will move to the Olympic Stadium at the end of the season.
The Paris Court of Appeal decided that it was not necessary to refer for a preliminary ruling to
the European Union Court of Justice and rejected the appeal relating to alleged
violations of EU law by the now revoked FIFA Regulations on the Status and
Transfer of Player concerning the players’ agents profession. This decision is
probably the final point of the never-ending Piau case. FIFA first modified its provisions for players’ agents
after the European Commission opened a case for an alleged breach of EU competition law. Mr. Piau contested the
European Commission’s decision to close the investigation but both of its
appeals at the European Court of Justice were rejected (see here and here).
The British Tax and Chancery Chamber of the Upper
Tribunal referred a question for a preliminary ruling
to the Court of Justice of the European Union relating to tax
law. The CJEU will have to tackle the definition of sport in deciding whether
bridge is a sport (Case C-90/16).
Official Documents and Press Releases
In the news
Narelle Bedford and Greg
Weeks, Doping in Sport: What Role for
Girish Deepak, Compulsory consent in Sports
Arbitration: Essential or Auxiliary
Antoine Duval, The FIFA Regulations on the
Status and Transfer of Players: Transnational Law-Making in the Shadow of
Antoine Duval, Getting to the Games: Olympic
Selection Drama(s) at the Court of Arbitration for Sport
Daniel Geey and Jonny
Madill, What would Brexit really mean
for the Premier League?
Tom Serby, The state of EU sports law:
lessons from UEFA’s ‘Financial Fair Play’ regulations
Conor Talbot, The Role of Sport in the
Recognition of Transgender and Intersex Rights
Anastasia Tsoukala, Geoff
Pearson and Peter Coenen(Eds.), Legal Responses to Football Hooliganism in Europe
Oskar van Maren, EU State Aid Law and
Professional Football: A Threat or a Blessing?
Ben Van Rompuy, The Role of EU Competition Law
in Tackling Abuse of Regulatory Power by Sports Associations
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