European Union Competition Law in Sports: Cases and Relevant Aspects of Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, Their Importance and Influence on Sport Managers and Institutions

Carlos Eugenio Zardini Filho


Recent sport professionalization demanded governmental regulation on the overall sport competition environment. This work intends to clarify and illustrate some important aspects of the European Union Competition Law that are applied to sport organizations and for managers, showing how some important cases have shaped sport practices. Specifically, the current articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) are the focus of this analysis. In brief, the Courts are now supporting their decisions about sport competition issues based not only on the TFEU, but also on the White Paper of Sport and referential cases. Above all, as a consequence of the Meca-Medina case, targeting to evaluate whether a rule adopted by a sport association infringes articles 101 and 102, a methodological approach was defined: Wouters steps (European Commission, 2007). Sports athletes, managers and institutions should assess if their entities are under the umbrella of the European Union Competition Law, taking into account the Wouters steps and the elements of the article 101 (3). Surely, any sport rule in the EU needs to observe the necessity of legitimate objectives and the proportionality of the actions in order to achieve these goals. The case-by-case Court of Justice approach of analysis was chosen as the best option, after all, general exemptions or applications could not take into consideration the specificities of the sport phenomenon. Additionally, sport managers should always foresee the effects of their rules and decisions on the sport industry, in terms of restricting or distorting competition.


Sports Law; EU Competition Law; Sport Management.

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