order to address this problem question, it should first be analyzed how sports
are subject to EU Competition Law.1
European competition regulations are prescribed in Articles 101 and 102 TFEU.2
With the purpose of controlling cartels, these articles set a legal framework,
according to which any agreements affecting fair trade between member states
and any abuse of a dominant position directly affecting trade between Member-
states are prohibited. 3
When it comes to sports, the EU law is applied “in so far it constitutes an
In other words, the Court distinguished certain rules of “purely sporting
interest”, which are not engaged in any economic activity5
from sporting rules of economic nature, that cannot escape the applicability of
EU law. However, the judgment on Meca-Medina
exceeded the already set jurisdictional threshold and illustrated with
confidence that any condition producing economic effects, including
organizational rules, are examined under EU Competition Law provisions.6
As 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 customary
ethical principles generally accepted and respected by sportspeople, as well as
issues relevant to absolutely amateur sports are free from any EU Law scrutiny.
the aforementioned leading case of Meca
the CJEU examined the compatibility of sporting practices and sanctions with
Articles 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 accurate
use and borrowing of the Wouters test, were further reiterated by the Annex 1
Staff Working Document attached to the White Paper on Sport, which established
a stable ground for competition law to be properly applied in sporting issues.
In this regard, in order to examine whether a restriction infringes competition
rules, a methodology comprised of four steps is to be followed. Firstly, it
should be decided whether the sporting body that formulated the rule is an
undertaking or an association of undertakings. “Every entity engaged n economic
“offering goods or services on the market”13
is considered an undertaking. On a second place a possible restriction of
competition and abuse of a dominant position by the rule under consideration
are examined. In light of this examination, the overall context and its
objectives, the actuall pursuit of these objectives and the proportionality of
the rule to the objectives pursuit are also examined.
1 Alfonso Rinco?n, “EC Competition and Internal Market Law: On
the Existence of a Sporting Exemption and its Withdrawal”, JCER Volume 3 Issue
2 Consolidated Version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the
European Union art. 101-102, 2008 O.J. C 115/47, at
3 Gardiner,Simon, “Sports Law, (4th, Routledge 2014
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),
6 Anderson,Jack, “Leading
Cases in Sports Law”, (T.M.C Asser Press), 2013″, 140.
7 Louis, Adam, Jonathan,
Taylor, “Sport: Law and Practice” (3rd Bloomsbury Professional,
8 Ken Foster, Lex
Sportiva and Lex Ludica: The Court of Arbitration for Sport’s Jurisprudence, 3
ESLJ 1 (2005)
9 PIjetovic Katarina, “EU
Competition 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 David
Meca-Medina and Igor Majcen v Commission of the European Communities2006 ECJ,
11 Case C-3 09/99 JCJ
Wouters and Others v Algemene Raad van de Nederlandse Orde van Advocaten2002
ECJ, I (ECJ).
12 C-41/90 Höfner and
Elser v Macotron Gmb, 1991(ECR-I-1979), para 21.
13 Commision v Italy,
(118/85) 1987 (ECR) 2599, para 7.