Centre for Law, Economics and Society


Sport and Competition Law

11 October 2012

The interaction of competition law with sports and the specificity of this area have been examined in the CLES's lecture on "Sport and Competition law: Recent developments and unfinished business"

The lecture was held at the Moot Court room at UCL Laws on Wednesday, October 10th, 2012. The main speaker, Dr. Ben van Rompuy (from the T.C. Asser Institute in the Netherlands), provided an excellent overview of the recent and some less recent case law of the EU Courts and decisional practice of the European Commission and national competition authorities on the application of competition law in the area of sports (e.g. sporting rules and the broadcasting of sports). 

According to van Rompuy,  sport and competition law have an uneasy relationship. While the European Commission’s competition decisions in the area of sport have set out broad principles, many questions regarding how to take the specific characteristics of sport and its societal function into account in competition law enforcement remain unsettled. Since the decentralization of EU competition law enforcement in 2004, enforcement activity in this area has largely shifted to the national level. As a result, all stakeholders (sports organisations, rights owners, clubs, sports practitioners, etc.) increasingly need to learn and draw from national cases and enforcement decisions. The complexity of the task of balancing sporting and commercial interests under EU competition law has been thoroughly explored, focusing on outstanding issues and options relating to the marketing and exploitation of sports broadcasting rights, in particular joint selling, joint buying, and access to content by consumers. 

Nicholas Green QC (Brick Court chambers) provided excellent comments by examining critically the recent case law of the Court of Justice of the EU in the recent "Karen Murphy" litigation, in which he was  involved. 

The debate was attended by more than 50 graduate students, practitioners and consultants in the area of competition law and sports law. It was chaired by the Director of the CLES, Dr. Ioannis Lianos.

Download the presentation.