Inorder to address this problem question, it should first be analyzed how sportsare subject to EU Competition Law.1European competition regulations are prescribed in Articles 101 and 102 TFEU.2With the purpose of controlling cartels, these articles set a legal framework,according to which any agreements affecting fair trade between member statesand any abuse of a dominant position directly affecting trade between Member-states are prohibited.
3When it comes to sports, the EU law is applied “in so far it constitutes aneconomic activity”4.In other words, the Court distinguished certain rules of “purely sportinginterest”, which are not engaged in any economic activity5from sporting rules of economic nature, that cannot escape the applicability ofEU law. However, the judgment on Meca-Medinaexceeded the already set jurisdictional threshold and illustrated withconfidence that any condition producing economic effects, includingorganizational rules, are examined under EU Competition Law provisions.67As a matter of fact, it can be argued that only lex ludica rules8,which are the rules of the game as enforced by match officials or customaryethical principles generally accepted and respected by sportspeople, as well asissues relevant to absolutely amateur sports are free from any EU Law scrutiny.9Inthe aforementioned leading case of MecaMedina10,the CJEU examined the compatibility of sporting practices and sanctions withArticles 101 and 102 TFEU. In order to achieve that, it used the ruling in Wouters case11,despite is irrelevance to sports. The ruling on Meca Medina and the accurateuse and borrowing of the Wouters test, were further reiterated by the Annex 1Staff Working Document attached to the White Paper on Sport, which establisheda stable ground for competition law to be properly applied in sporting issues.
In this regard, in order to examine whether a restriction infringes competitionrules, a methodology comprised of four steps is to be followed. Firstly, itshould be decided whether the sporting body that formulated the rule is anundertaking or an association of undertakings. “Every entity engaged n economicactivity”12″offering goods or services on the market”13is considered an undertaking. On a second place a possible restriction ofcompetition and abuse of a dominant position by the rule under considerationare examined. In light of this examination, the overall context and itsobjectives, the actuall pursuit of these objectives and the proportionality ofthe rule to the objectives pursuit are also examined.
1 Alfonso Rinco?n, “EC Competition and Internal Market Law: Onthe Existence of a Sporting Exemption and its Withdrawal”, JCER Volume 3 Issue3, 224.2 Consolidated Version of the Treaty on the Functioning of theEuropean Union art. 101-102, 2008 O.J. C 115/47, athttp://eur-lex.europa.
eu/legal-content/EL/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A12012M%2FTXT 3 Gardiner,Simon, “Sports Law, (4th, Routledge 2014)358. 4 Walgrave and Koch v. Union Cycliste Internationale 1974 (ECJ),para 14; Gaetano Donà v Mario Mantero 1976 (ECJ), para 12.5 Walgrave, 1976 (ECJ),para 3.6 Anderson,Jack, “LeadingCases in Sports Law”, (T.M.C Asser Press), 2013″, 140.7 Louis, Adam, Jonathan,Taylor, “Sport: Law and Practice” (3rd Bloomsbury Professional,2014),1143.8 Ken Foster, LexSportiva and Lex Ludica: The Court of Arbitration for Sport’s Jurisprudence, 3ESLJ 1 (2005)9 PIjetovic Katarina, “EUCompetition Law and Organizational Rules” in Duval, Antoine and van Rompuy, Ben(eds.), The Legacy Of Bosman (Asser Press 2016), 118.10 Case C-519/04 P DavidMeca-Medina and Igor Majcen v Commission of the European Communities2006 ECJ,I(ECJ).11 Case C-3 09/99 JCJWouters and Others v Algemene Raad van de Nederlandse Orde van Advocaten2002ECJ, I (ECJ).12 C-41/90 Höfner andElser v Macotron Gmb, 1991(ECR-I-1979), para 21.13 Commision v Italy,(118/85) 1987 (ECR) 2599, para 7.