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Neil Partington

This chapter conducts a detailed examination of the effect of EU Sports Law and Policy on the promotion and development of voluntary activity in sport in Europe. Accordingly, the evolution of EU Sports Policy is scrutinised by adopting an analytical lens centred on sports volunteering when discussing the impact of the EU’s supporting, coordinating and supplementing role in this field. In addition to analysis of the effectiveness of this new EU competence for sport, enshrined in Article 6 and Article 165 of the TFEU, the utility of other key documents and policies is also discussed. This includes, the White Paper on Sport 2007, the Commission’s Communication on developing the European Dimension in Sport 2011 and, consecutive Work Plans for Sport (2011–14 and 2014–17). Following this, the chapter critically considers the obstacles, best practice and future challenges likely to be encountered by the EU when exercising its competence in this area.

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Anastassia Tsoukala

This chapter presents a critical overview of the main aspects of EU counter-hooliganism policies. The chapter argues that from the mid-1990s up to 2006, the main approach was elaborated under the sole influence of law enforcers who, in the absence of any definition of football crowd violence, turned into key definers and managers of this form of violence. Quite unsurprisingly, these police-led policies have been of limited efficiency because, by definition, they could not go beyond the stage of engaging in an endless struggle against the ever-changing manifestation of the phenomenon. The re-founding of EU policies, from 2007 on, marks a turning point in countering football crowd violence due to the introduction of long-term preventive policies and the inclusion of supporters in stakeholder groups.

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Nick De Marco

This chapter considers the regulation of transfers, agents and minors in sport within the EU. In doing so, the chapter discusses the efficacy of the regulatory regime and it assesses its compatibility with key provisions of EU law. While the chapter aims to consider all regulated sports, its focus is on football, which has the most sophisticated and developed regulatory regimes in relation to these areas. Further, where national regulations are looked at in any detail, the discussion will centre on English law and regulation, reflecting the expertise of the author.

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Seán Ó’Conaill

The EU Work Plan for Sport (2014–17) identified the sustainable financing of sport as a priority. This chapter examines the various interventions by the EU into the area of sustainable finance in football. Although the majority of the interventions relate more generally to sport rather than to football specifically an analysis of the various interventions shows that football was clearly to the forefront of the minds of the EU’s institutions on many occasions. Much of the EU’s focus on sport more generally has been led by football developments such as the Bosman ruling, football broadcast rights and the rights of clubs. The EU’s focus on sustainable finance in the context of football is not solely on the professional game at the top level. As noted in the Expert Group on Sustainable Financing of Sport, the redistribution of funds from professional sport to grassroots sport plays a key role in the sustainable financing of sport with football given as the leading example. To this end, this chapter will commence with an analysis of the various EU interventions which chart the development of an ever-increasing focus on sustainable finance within European football. Furthermore, an analysis of the role played by the Financial Fair Play Regulations and the various Transfer Regulations will be conducted in order to assess their impact on issues of sustainable finance in football with a particular focus on, first, their effectiveness in in achieving this and secondly on their compatibility with EU law.

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Andrea Cattaneo

In times of economic difficulties, sport looks for various streams of revenues and funding, and in some cases, turning to public bodies represents the only viable solution. In turn, funding of sport enterprises and professional clubs may pursue public policy objectives or may be used as a political tool for local municipalities and national governments. However, EU law has to protect the competition on the internal market, even against measures taken by Member States. Article 107 TFEU prohibits any type of public measures granted by Member States which distort or threaten to distort competition by favouring certain undertakings or the production of certain goods. This chapter offers an overview of the recent Decisions of the EU Commission on the legality of measures granted by Member States to fund professional sport clubs. Moreover, the chapter discuss the General Block Exempting Regulation for funding of multi-functional arenas.

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Stefaan Van den Bogaert

This contribution initially provides a general overview of the main rules and principles concerning the Treaty free movement provisions. The focus is primarily on the free movement of workers and the freedom to provide services. The chapter then analyses the approach of the Court of Justice as regards nationality discrimination in sport. The chapter also addresses how EU law approaches the question of nationality discrimination in team and individual sports, as highlighted in discussions on UEFA’s home-grown player rule and eligibility requirements in Olympic sports. The chapter concludes by observing that despite the absence of a clear EU competence in the field of sport until the Lisbon Treaty, the Court of Justice of the EU has consistently adopted the same conceptual approach in cases concerning the mobility of sportsmen within the EU.

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An Vermeersch

The 2009 Lisbon Treaty endorsed the constitutional recognition of the specificity of sport. Despite its wide recognition, both from a political and a legal perspective, the concept of the specificity of sport remains enfolded by a number of questions. This chapter analyses the origin of the concept and its legal implications. The main contention is that sport is special to a certain extent. The case law of the European Court of Justice and the decision practice of the European Commission take into consideration the peculiarities of sport and provide for sufficient guidance in assessing sporting rules or sporting practices under EU law.

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Richard Parrish

The EU’s founding Treaty, the 1957 Treaty of Rome, did not grant the EU a competence to develop a sport policy and so for many years EU involvement in sport was ad hoc, sporadic and constitutionally questionable. This situation was remedied with the entry into force in 2009 of Articles 6 and 165 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). These articles granted the EU institutions the ability to ‘support, coordinate and supplement’ the actions of the Member States in the field of sport. Prior to Article 165, the EU attracted the criticism that the lack of constitutional status for sport resulted in a jurisprudential bias in favour of single market principles and this damaged the autonomy and specificity of sport. This chapter examines that thesis and explores the trajectory of EU sports law and policy post-TFEU.

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Stephen Weatherill

EU Sports Law is shaped by three landmark sources: the Court of Justice’s rulings in Walrave and Koch, Bosman and Meca-Medina, which in fertile combination brought EU law to a case-by-case examination of sporting practices that is infused by sensitivity to sport’s peculiar features, now supported by the explicit Treaty direction contained in Article 165 TFEU that the EU shall respect the ‘specific nature’ of sport. A model of conditional autonomy lies at the heart of EU sports law – sporting autonomy is respected on condition that it is shown how and why chosen practices are truly needed. In Bosman the Court concluded that nationality discrimination practised in club football did not carry the same resonance as the nationality discrimination at international level to which it had given the green light in Walrave and Koch, while in Meca-Medina anti-doping procedures were reviewed but not condemned. Article 165 captures and confirms the notion of conditional autonomy.

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Edited by Jack Anderson, Richard Parrish and Borja García

The EU’s influence on sport has traditionally focused on the socio-economic and cultural impact. This Research Handbook on EU Sports Law explores the development of the 'European dimension' in sport, and the concomitant legal issues including, competition law, state aid and free movement of persons. The application of such areas of EU law to sport and the influence of EU law on key policy issues such as, doping, match-fixing and governance, are detailed in this comprehensive collection. The topical chapters by experts in their field, also touch upon the future evolution of EU sports law.