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

The aftermath of the Pechstein ruling: Can the Swiss Federal Tribunal save CAS arbitration? By Thalia Diathesopoulou

It took only days for the de facto immunity of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) awards from State court interference to collapse like a house of cards on the grounds of the public policy exception mandated under Article V(2)(b) of the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards . On 15 January 2015, the Munich Court of Appeals signalled an unprecedented turn in the longstanding legal dispute between the German speed skater, Claudia Pechstein, and the International Skating Union (ISU). It refused to recognise a CAS arbitral award, confirming the validity of a doping ban, on the grounds that it violated a core principle of German cartel law which forms part of the German public policy. A few weeks before, namely on 30 December 2014, the Court of Appeal of Bremen held a CAS award, which ordered the German Club, SV Wilhelmshaven, to pay ‘training compensation’, unenforceable for non-compliance with mandatory European Union law and, thereby, for violation of German ordre public. More...

‘The reform of football': Yes, but how? By Marco van der Harst

'Can't fight corruption with con tricks
They use the law to commit crime
And I dread, dread to think what the future will bring
When we're living in gangster time'
The Specials - Gangsters


The pressing need for change 

The Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) of the Council of Europe (CoE), which is composed of 318 MPs chosen from the national parliaments of the 47 CoE member states, unanimously adopted a report entitled ‘the reform of football’ on January 27, 2015. A draft resolution on the report will be debated during the PACE April 2015 session and, interestingly, (only?) FIFA’s president Sepp Blatter has been sent an invitation

The PACE report highlights the pressing need of reforming the governance of football by FIFA and UEFA respectively. Accordingly, the report contains some interesting recommendations to improve FIFA’s (e.g., Qatargate[1]) and UEFA’s governance (e.g., gender representation). Unfortunately, it remains unclear how the report’s recommendations will actually be implemented and enforced. 

The report is a welcomed secondary effect of the recent Qatargate directly involving former FIFA officials such as Jack Warner, Chuck Blazer, and Mohamed Bin Hammam[2] and highlighting the dramatic failures of FIFA’s governance in putting its house in order. Thus, it is undeniably time to correct the governance of football by FIFA and its confederate member UEFA – nolens volens. The real question is how to do it.



            Photograph: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images                   Photograph: Octav Ganea/AP

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SV Wilhelmshaven: a Rebel with a cause! Challenging the compatibility of FIFA’s training compensation system with EU law

Due to the legitimate excitement over the recent Pechstein ruling, many have overlooked a previous German decision rendered in the Wilhelmshaven SV case (the German press did report on the decision here and here). The few academic commentaries (see here and here) focused on the fact that the German Court had not recognized the res judicata effect of a CAS award. Thus, it placed Germany at the spearhead of a mounting rebellion against the legitimacy of the CAS and the validity of its awards. None of the commentators weighed in on the substance of the decision, however. Contrary to the Court in Pechstein, the judges decided to evaluate the compatibility of the FIFA rules on training compensations with the EU free movement rights. To properly report on the decision and assess the threat it may constitute for the FIFA training compensation system, we will first summarize the facts of the case (I), briefly explicate the mode of functioning of the FIFA training compensation system (II), and finally reconstruct the reasoning of the Court on the compatibility of the FIFA rules with EU law (III).More...

In Egypt, Broadcasting Football is a Question of Sovereignty … for Now! By Tarek Badawy, Inji Fathalla, and Nadim Magdy

On 15 April 2014, the Cairo Economic Court (the “Court") issued a seminal judgment declaring the broadcasting of a football match a sovereign act of State.[1]


Background

In Al-Jazeera v. the Minister of Culture, Minister of Information, and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Radio and Television Union, a case registered under 819/5JY, the Al-Jazeera TV Network (the “Plaintiff” or “Al-Jazeera”) sued the Egyptian Radio and Television Union (“ERTU” or the “Union”) et al. (collectively, the “Respondents”) seeking compensation for material and moral damages amounting to three (3) million USD, in addition to interest, for their alleged breach of the Plaintiff’s exclusive right to broadcast a World Cup-qualification match in Egypt.  Al-Jazeera obtained such exclusive right through an agreement it signed with Sportfive, a sports marketing company that had acquired the right to broadcast Confederation of African Football (“CAF”) World Cup-qualification matches.

ERTU reportedly broadcasted the much-anticipated match between Egypt and Ghana live on 15 October 2013 without obtaining Al-Jazeera’s written approval, in violation of the Plaintiff’s intellectual property rights.

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Why the European Commission will not star in the Spanish TV rights Telenovela. By Ben Van Rompuy and Oskar van Maren

The selling of media rights is currently a hot topic in European football. Last week, the English Premier League cashed in around 7 billion Euros for the sale of its live domestic media rights (2016 to 2019) – once again a 70 percent increase in comparison to the previous tender. This means that even the bottom club in the Premier League will receive approximately €130 million while the champions can expect well over €200 million per season.

The Premier League’s new deal has already led the President of the Spanish National Professional Football League (LNFP), Javier Tebas, to express his concerns that this could see La Liga lose its position as one of Europe’s leading leagues. He reiterated that establishing a centralised sales model in Spain is of utmost importance, if not long overdue.

Concrete plans to reintroduce a system of joint selling for the media rights of the Primera División, Segunda División A, and la Copa del Rey by means of a Royal Decree were already announced two years ago. The road has surely been long and bumpy. The draft Decree is finally on the table, but now it misses political approval. All the parties involved are blaming each other for the current failure: the LNFP blames the Sport Governmental Council for Sport (CSD) for not taking the lead; the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) is arguing that the Federation and non-professional football entities should receive more money and that it should have a stronger say in the matter in accordance with the FIFA Statutes;  and there are widespread rumours that the two big earners, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, are actively lobbying to prevent the Royal Decree of actually being adopted.

To keep the soap opera drama flowing,  on 30 December 2014, FASFE (an organisation consisting of groups of fans, club members, and minority shareholders of several Spanish professional football clubs) and the International Soccer Centre (a movement that aims to obtain more balanced and transparent football and basketball competitions in Spain) filed an antitrust complaint with the European Commission against the LNFP. They argue that the current system of individual selling of LNFP media rights, with unequal shares of revenue widening the gap between clubs, violates EU competition law.


Source:http://www.gopixpic.com/600/buscar%C3%A1n-el-amor-verdadero-nueva-novela-de-televisa/http:%7C%7Cassets*zocalo*com*mx%7Cuploads%7Carticles%7C5%7C134666912427*jpg/

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The 2014 Dortmund judgment: what potential for a follow-on class action? By Zygimantas Juska

Class actions are among the most powerful legal tools available in the US to enforce competition rules. With more than 75 years of experience, the American system offers valuable lessons about the benefits and drawbacks of class actions for private enforcement in competition law. Once believed of as only a US phenomenon, class actions are slowly becoming reality in the EU. After the adoption of the Directive on damages actions in November 2014, the legislative initiative in collective redress (which could prescribe a form of class actions) is expected in 2017.[1] Some pro-active Member States have already taken steps to introduce class actions in some fashion, like, for example, Germany.

What is a class action? It is a lawsuit that allows many similar legal claims with a common interest to be bundled into a single court action. Class actions facilitate access to justice for potential claimants, strengthen the negotiating power and contribute to the efficient administration of justice. This legal mechanism ensures a possibility to claim cessation of illegal behavior (injunctive relief) or to claim compensation for damage suffered (compensatory relief).  More...

The Pechstein ruling of the OLG München - A Rough Translation

The Pechstein decision of the Oberlandesgericht of Munich is “ground-breaking”, “earth-shaking”, “revolutionary”, name it. It was the outmost duty of a “German-reading” sports lawyer to translate it as fast as possible in order to make it available for the sports law community at large (Disclaimer: This is not an official translation and I am no certified legal translator). Below you will find the rough translation of the ruling (the full German text is available here), it is omitting solely the parts, which are of no direct interest to international sports law.

The future of CAS is in the balance and this ruling should trigger some serious rethinking of the institutional set-up that underpins it. As you will see, the ruling is not destructive, the Court is rather favourable to the function of CAS in the sporting context, but it requires a fundamental institutional reshuffling. It also offers a fruitful legal strategy to challenge CAS awards that could be used in front of any national court of the EU as it is based on reasoning analogically applicable to article 102 TFEU (on abuse of a dominant position), which is valid across the EU’s territory.

Enjoy the read! 

Antoine

PS: The translation can also be downloaded at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2561297

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From Veerpalu to Lalluka: ‘one step forward, two steps back’ for CAS in dealing with Human Growth Hormone tests (by Thalia Diathesopoulou)

In autumn 2011, the Finnish cross-country skier Juha Lalluka, known as a “lone-wolf” because of his training habit, showed an adverse analytical finding with regard to human growth hormone (hGH). The timing was ideal. As the FINADA Supervisory Body in view of the A and B positive samples initiated disciplinary proceedings against Lalluka for violation of anti-doping rules, the Veerpalu case was pending before the CAS. At the athlete’s request, the Supervisory Board postponed the proceedings until the CAS rendered the award in the Veerpalu case. Indeed, on 25 March 2013, the CAS shook the anti-doping order: it cleared Andrus Veerpalu of an anti-doping rule violation for recombinant hGH (rhGH) on the grounds that the decision limits set by WADA to define the ratio beyond which the laboratories should report the presence of rhGH had not proven scientifically reliable.

The Veerpalu precedent has become a rallying flag for athletes suspected of use of hGH and confirmed some concerns raised about the application of the hGH test. Not surprisingly, Sinkewitz and Lallukka followed the road that Veerpalu paved and sought to overturn their doping ban by alleging the scientific unreliability of the hGH decisions limits. Without success, however. With the full text of the CAS award on the Lallukka case released a few weeks ago[1] and the new rules of the 2015 WADA Code coming into force, we grasp the opportunity to outline the ambiguous approach of CAS on the validity of the hGH test. In short: Should the Veerpalu case and its claim that doping sanctions should rely on scientifically well founded assessments be considered as a fundamental precedent or as a mere exception? More...

State Aid and Sport: does anyone really care about rugby? By Beverley Williamson

There has been a lot of Commission interest in potential state aid to professional football clubs in various Member States.  The huge sums of money involved are arguably an important factor in this interest and conversely, is perhaps the reason why state aid in rugby union is not such a concern. But whilst the sums of money may pale into comparison to those of professional football, the implications for the sport are potentially no less serious.

At the end of the 2012/2013 season, Biarritz Olympique (Biarritz) were relegated from the elite of French Rugby Union, the Top 14 to the Pro D2.  By the skin of their teeth, and as a result of an injection of cash from the local council (which amounted to 400,000€), they were spared administrative relegation to the amateur league below, the Fédérale 1, which would have occurred as a result of the financial state of the club.More...

State aid in Croatia and the Dinamo Zagreb case

Introduction

The year 2015 promises to be crucial, and possibly revolutionary, for State aid in football. The European Commission is taking its time in concluding its formal investigations into alleged State aid granted to five Dutch clubs and several Spanish clubs, including Valencia CF and Real Madrid, but the final decisions are due for 2015.

A few months ago, the Commission also received a set of fresh State aid complaints originating from the EU’s newest Member State Croatia. The complaints were launched by a group of minority shareholders of the Croatian football club Hajduk Split, who call themselves Naš Hajduk. According to Naš Hajduk, Hajduk Split’s eternal rival, GNK Dinamo Zagreb, has received more than 30 million Euros in unlawful aid by the city of Zagreb since 2006.More...

Asser International Sports Law Blog | The EU State aid and sport saga: The Real Madrid Decision (part 2)

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

The EU State aid and sport saga: The Real Madrid Decision (part 2)

This is the second and final part of the ‘Real Madrid Saga’. Where the first part outlined the background of the case and the role played by the Spanish national courts, the second part focuses on the EU Commission’s recovery decision of 4 July 2016 and dissects the arguments advanced by the Commission to reach it. As will be shown, the most important question the Commission had to answer was whether the settlement agreement of 29 July 2011 between the Council of Madrid and Real Madrid constituted a selective economic advantage for Real Madrid in the sense of Article 107(1) TFEU.[1] Before delving into that analysis, the blog will commence with the other pending question, namely whether the Commission also scrutinized the legality of the operation Bernabeú-Opañel under EU State aid law. By way of reminder, this operation consisted of Real Madrid receiving from the municipality the land adjacent to the Bernabéu stadium, while transferring in return €6.6 million, as well as plots of land in other areas of the city. 


The Commission’s ‘pragmatic’ solution regarding the Operation Bernabéu-Opañel

As was explained in part 1 of this blog, during the formal investigation period (i.e. from 18 December 2013 until 4 July 2016), the operation Bernabéu-Opañel (referred to by the Commission as the ‘2011 urban development agreement’) was firstly suspended by the Madrid High Court (31 July 2014) and later completely annulled (2 February 2015) by that same Court. It is worth reiterating that the Court believed there to be a sufficient link between the 2011 settlement agreement and the operation Bernabéu-Opañel in order to examine the agreements together.[2]

The Commission, however, was actually surprisingly brief on this matter. As can be read from paragraphs 79 and 80 from the decision, “(a)s a result of (the judgment of 2 February 2015), the 2011 urban development agreement has been cancelled between the parties. Consequently, that agreement will no longer be implemented so that the Commission assessment of the 2011 urban development agreement has become without object. The present Decision therefore only examines the 2011 settlement agreement under State aid rules”.[3]

From an EU State aid law perspective, declaring the operation Bernabéu-Opañel “without object” makes sense. With the agreement annulled, there has been no transfer of resources from the State to Real Madrid of any sorts, nor could Real Madrid have obtained an economic advantage from an annulled agreement. Therefore, removing all the problematic aspects of the agreement from a State aid perspective. Yet, it does remain slightly ironic that that the ‘standstill obligation’ was applied to an agreement that was later on never analysed by the Commission. True, the subsequent annulment (based solely on Spanish administrative law) made Commission scrutiny redundant, but one does wonder what the Commission would have decided had the Madrid Court not annulled the operation. 


The 2011 settlement agreement under Article 107(1) TFEU

By way of reminder, in the opening decision, the Commission primarily doubted whether:

1) It was impossible for the Council of Madrid to transfer the Las Tablas property to Real Madrid;

2) This legal impossibility automatically led to an obligation for the Council of Madrid to compensate Real Madrid;

3) A market value of the Las Tablas plot of land has been sought;

4) And whether the value of the properties which were transferred to Real Madrid by the 2011 settlement agreement were market conform.[4]

In reaction to the opening decision Spain argued that transferring the plot in Las Tablas was illegal based on the local urban law 9/2001 of 2001, this interpretation was later confirmed by the Spanish High Court in 2004. Yet, this was already the case in 1998 when the Madrid Council agreed to transfer the land to Real Madrid.[5] Given that Real Madrid had legitimate expectations that it was the owner of the land, it has suffered damages as a consequence of the transfer’s invalidity. As a consequence, Real Madrid needed to be compensated by an amount equal to the market value of Las Tablas in 2011, namely €22.693.054,44. Since this sum was calculated on the basis of an objective model set by the Ministry of Economy and Industry[6], Spain considered that it matched the market value and could not constitute State aid.

The economic advantage criterion according to the market economy operator principle

The Commission’s State aid assessment essentially revolved around the question whether the 2011 settlement agreement between the Council of Madrid and Real Madrid resulted in an economic advantage to the benefit of Real Madrid.[7] As is standard Commission practice[8], “to determine whether a particular transaction carried out by a public authority has been carried out in line with normal market conditions, it is necessary to compare the behaviour of that public authority with that of a similarly situated hypothetical “market economic operator” operating under normal market conditions. If the “market economy operator” would have entered into that transaction under similar terms, then the presence of an advantage may be excluded as regards that transaction”.[9] Referring to EU case law[10], the Commission argued that a prudent market operator would carry out his own ex ante assessment on the basis of sound economic and legal evaluations, when entering such transactions. Public authorities cannot claim that evaluations made after the transaction, based on a retrospective finding that it was actually economically rational, like the Madrid Council did in this case, is the course of action that a prudent market operator would take under similar circumstances.[11]

In continuation, the Commission indicated the two criteria it used in order to determine whether the amount of compensation offered to Real Madrid was in line market conditions:

1) The probability that the Madrid Council would be held liable for its inability to perform its contractual obligations;

2) And the maximum extent of its financial exposure resulting from finding such a liability.[12]

Though these criteria are clearly cumulative, it should be noted that the Commission did not support the criteria with a reference to case law, its own decisional practice or documents of (soft) law. Be that as it may, based primarily on these criteria the Commission concluded that a market economy operator in a similar situation to the Madrid Council would not have entered into the 2011 settlement agreement.

As regards the first criteria, the Commission argued that the Madrid Council should have sought legal advice so as to establish the likelihood that it was indeed liable for not performing its contractual obligations. Without legal advice, the Commission found it hard to believe that a prudent market operator would have assumed full legal liability, especially considering “the legal uncertainties surrounding the potential impossibility to perform (the land transaction), the legal consequences of that potential impossibility, and the Madrid Council’s ability to remedy that legal impossibility through other means”.[13] The Commission seems definitely correct in questioning the chain of events that eventually led to the compensation of more than €20 million. Even though, as Spain now claims[14], it was already legally impossible to transfer the land in 1998, why did the Madrid Council sign this agreement in the first place? After the introduction of local urban law 9/2001, shouldn’t the parties have been aware of the legal impossibility at that moment, or in any case after the 2004 judgment of the Madrid High Court? Consequently, why did the Council wait until 2011 before compensating Real Madrid? In paragraphs 103 and 104, the Commission also drew an interesting comparison with the operation Bernabéu-Opañel. Although this latter operation was declared void by a Spanish Court for not being in line with the general interest, it simultaneously shows that reclassifying a terrain from public to private (sport) use is not entirely legally impossible. In other words, by analogy, the plot in Las Tablas could have been reclassified for private use (provided the reclassification served the general interest) and be legally transferred to Real Madrid.

With regard to the second criteria, i.e. the maximum extent of the Madrid Council’s financial exposure resulting from finding such a liability, the Commission firstly argued that the different valuations of 1998 and 2011 of the land in Las Tablas were based on the mistaken assumption that this land could have been transferred in 2011, which, in hindsight appeared to be legally impossible. “Assuming the Madrid Council could not be held liable for that legal impossibility, for which it never solicited legal advice, it is at least arguable that the market value of the plot in its relationship with Real Madrid would be zero, since the land in question cannot be transferred”.[15] On the other hand, and assuming the Madrid Council is liable and Real Madrid had a right to a compensation, this amount should have been way less than €22 million as a Commission-assigned study concluded. Taking into account the Commission’s consideration that the correct parameter for the valuation of the concerned plot is the long-term exploitation of the land for sport use, the study arrived at a valuation in 2011 of €4.275 million.[16]

For all the above reasons, the Commission established that the Madrid Council had not acted as a prudent market operator. It had not sought legal advice before entering the 2011 settlement agreement, and the subsequent compensation granted to Real Madrid too high. In conclusion, by means of the 2011 settlement agreement, a selective economic advantage was granted to Real Madrid and the State aid criteria of Article 107(1) TFEU were fulfilled. As a result, the amount of aid that Spain was required to recover from the football club amounted to €18.418.054,44 (€22.693.054,44 - €4.275.000) plus interests.[17]


The aftermath

On 2 September 2016, the municipality of Madrid officially ordered Real Madrid to repay €20.3 million, an obligation complied with by the club in early November. Nonetheless, the Real Madrid ‘saga’ has not come to an end. In fact, now that Real Madrid’s appeal is registered by the CJEU, it has become clear that it could take several more years until the case is finally closed. The pending questions are; what are the grounds of Real Madrid’s appeal and could the appeal be successful?

As a preliminary remark, neither Spain nor Real Madrid have claimed that the 2011 settlement agreement falls, or could fall, under one of the exceptions of Article 107(3) TFEU. In principle, this does not prevent Real Madrid from advancing a compatibility plea in front of the General Court, even though it did not raise the argument during the formal investigation.[18] Nonetheless, given the Commission’s wide discretion in applying the exceptions of Article 107(3)[19], the review of the legality of its decision is restricted to determining whether the Commission committed a manifest error in its assessment of the facts or misused its powers.[20] Moreover, as the Commission indicates in paragraph 135 of the decision, the aid granted to Real Madrid is considered as operating aid.[21] In other words, the aid releases an undertaking from costs which it would normally have to bear in its day to day activities.[22] Both the Commission and the CJEU have been very reluctant in permitting operating aid since it rarely facilitates the development of certain economic activities without adversely affecting trading conditions.[23]

In a press-release following the Commission’s announcement of its recovery decision, Real Madrid inter alia argued that the valuation method used in the 2011 settlement agreement is the “only objective method, as it is based in the cadastral value, legally obliging for all Spanish City Councils, and therefore is applied in all transaction between City Councils and third parties whether they are public or private”.[24] The Commission’s final decision takes note of the criticism expressed by Real Madrid regarding the Commission-assigned valuation study, especially concerning the (in its eyes erroneous) valuation method used for the study.[25] Though the Commission rebutted Real Madrid’s criticism[26], it will be up to the General Court of the EU (and potentially later the Court of Justice) to decide whether the Madrid Council used the correct valuation method when determining the 2011 value of las Tablas. This will not be completely new territory for the General Court, given the rich jurisprudence available on valuation methods.[27] As regards the standard of review applied by the General Court, Conor Quigley argues that “where the Commission is found by the Court to have committed a sufficient error of assessment, the decision will be annulled”.[28] It is settled EU case law, that the valuation method must be based on the available objective, verifiable and reliable data, which should be sufficiently detailed and should reflect the economic situation at the time at which the transaction was decided, taking into account the level of risk and future expectations.[29] The General Court remains, however, entitled to fully review and assess the valuation methods presented by the Commission and the interested parties.[30]

The Real Madrid case is too complex and intertwined to draw definitive conclusions on the possible outcome of the appeal. Nonetheless, the thorough State aid assessment conducted by the Commission in its decision should not be underestimated. This will be a tough “legal match” on an entirely new turf for Real Madrid.



[1] By way of reminder, Article 107(1) TFEU reads: “Save as otherwise provided in the Treaties, any aid granted by a Member State or through State resources in any form whatsoever which distorts or threatens to distort competition by favouring certain undertakings or the production of certain goods shall, in so far as it affects trade between Member States, be incompatible with the internal market”.

[2] See Oskar van Maren, “The EU State aid and sport saga: The Real Madrid Decision (part 1)”, Asser International Sports Law Blog, 15 November 2016.

[3] Commission decision SA.33753 of 4 July 2016 on the State aid implemented by Spain for Real Madrid CF, paras. 79 and 80.

[4] Commission decision SA.33753 of 18 December 2013, State aid– Spain Real Madrid CF, paras. 41-43.

[5] Interestingly enough, Spain’s comments contradict Real Madrid’s comments, according to which, as can be read in paragraph 46 of the decision, Spanish law did allow Las Tablas to be reclassified for private use in 1998 and beyond until a specific law that prohibits that was introduced in 2001.

[6] Commission decision SA.33753 of 4 July 2016 on the State aid implemented by Spain for Real Madrid CF, paras. 29-36.

[7] Since it was clear State resources were transferred, that the measure was selective and that it at least had the potential of affecting intra-Union trade, the other criteria of Article 107(1) TFEU were only briefly discussed.

[8] See also e.g. Commission decision SA.41613 of 4 July 2016, on the measure implemented by the Netherlands with regard to the professional football club PSV in Eindhoven.

[9] Commission decision SA.33753 of 18 December 2013, State aid– Spain Real Madrid CF, para. 88.

[10] Case C-124/10 P Commission v. EDF ECLI:EU:C:2012:318, paras. 84, 85 and 105.

[11] Commission decision SA.33753 of 18 December 2013, State aid– Spain Real Madrid CF, para. 89.

[12] Ibid, para. 92.

[13] Ibid, para. 94.

[14] Ibid, para. 29.

[15] Ibid, para. 108.

[16] Ibid, paras. 111-112.

[17] Ibid, paras. 139-142.

[18] See for example T-110/97 Kneissl Dachstein v Commission ECLI:EU:T:1999:244, para. 102.

[19]Case T-304/08 Smurfit Kappa Group v Commission ECLI:EU:T:2012:351, para. 90.

[20] Conor Quigley, “European State Aid Law and Policy”, Hart Publishing, 3rd edition (2015), pages 738-739. See also for example T-20/03 Kahla/Thüringen Porzellan v Commission, ECLI:EU:T:2008:395, para. 115.

[21] Commission decision SA.33753 of 18 December 2013, State aid– Spain Real Madrid CF, para. 135.

[22] See for example Case C-172/03 Heiser ECLI:EU:C:2005:130, para. 55.

[23] Quigley, page 276.

[24] Real Madrid further found it surprising that the Commission used a valuation made by an architect’s office in Barcelona to dictate their decision. Though many will find this comment by Real Madrid rather amusing, it once again shows that the rivalry between the two clubs (and cities) far exceeds the performances on a football field.

[25] Commission decision SA.33753 of 18 December 2013, State aid– Spain Real Madrid CF, para. 89.

[26] Ibid, paras. 119-128.

[27] See for example T-366/00 Scott v Commission ECLI:EU:T:2007:99; and C-239/09 Seydaland Vereinigte Agrarbetriebe ECLI:EU:C:2010:778.

[28] Quigley, page 737. Based on the case law of the Court, it is not entirely clear whether a “sufficient error of assessment” by the Commission is enough for the Court to annul the decision.

[29] T-366/00 Scott v Commission ECLI:EU:T:2007:99, para. 158. See also Commission Notice C 262/1 of 19 July 2016 on the notion of State aid as referred to in Article 107(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, para. 101.

[30] Case T-274/01 Valmont v Commission ECLI:EU:T:2004:266.

Comments (1) -

  • Florentino Perez

    2/11/2017 9:19:30 AM |

    According to the ecological movement (EeA), the advantage for Real in the transfer of the plots in the Opanel district in exchange for the super prime area in front of the Bernabeu Stadium was approx. €60 million which is not unreasonable considering the actual market prices in both areas. That was the lion's share of the aid. Add this to the three years of delay in the stadium redevelopment (no IPIC naming rights at €20-25 million a year and no increase in the match day revenue) and you will see the that the Saga has been ruinous for Real that has been overtaken in the meantime by United and Barca in the revenue league.

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