Sports & Competition Law

Foreword Sports & competition law: an overview of EU and national case law

“The NCAA is not above the law”. This statement of US Supreme Court (USC) Justice Kavanaugh, expressing a self-evident fact, makes it obvious that the sporting federations have had difficulties in the past realizing that competition law applies to their rules and regulations. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Meca-Medina unveiled the general applicability of competition law to sports regulations and offered the Wouters criteria in case that specific sporting provisions pursue specific goals, which are not in themselves contrary to Art. 101 TFEU, in a proportionate, non-discriminatory manner. The ISU case is a gamechanger, where the Commission has chosen to render a prohibition decision instead of just accepting commitments. With the prohibition decision in ISU, the Commission has shown a deep understanding of the basic problems clubs and athletes have to experience every day when dealing with federations. With the GC judgment the legal certainty which can be derived from this decision is once more enlarged. In this Foreword, I have highlighted the major decisions in sports and competition law, not dealing with cases which take place in the sports branch but which are not sports-specific, such as decisions dealing with distribution agreements, and also leaving aside procedures which have not yet been closed by decision or just fact-based interim assessments.

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Meo-Law (Munich)

Anticompetitive practices

The Mexican Competition Authority sanctions 17 clubs of the national football federation and 8 natural persons for colluding in the market for soccer players’ draft (Liga MX)
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
COFECE sanctions 17 clubs of the Liga MX, the Mexican Football Federation and 8 natural persons for colluding in the market of women and male soccer players’ draft* One of the sanctioned conducts consisted of an agreement to set a maximum wage cap for women players, which eliminated competition (...)

The Hong Kong Competition Authority issues advice on the potential risks under the Competition Ordinance related to the membership admission criteria and procedures of trade, sporting, professional, and industry associations
Hong Kong Competition Commission
Competition Commission advises on Trade Associations’ membership admission rules* The Competition Commission (Commission) today (29 July) published an Advisory Bulletin to advise on the potential risks under the Competition Ordinance (Ordinance) related to the membership admission criteria and (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority calls on the national football federation to amend their proposal for commercializing the audiovisual rights of the new "Primera RFEF" category (RFEF)
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC calls on the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) to amend their proposal for commercialising the audiovisual rights of the new "Primera RFEF" category The document breaches several requirements set out in Royal Decree-Act 5/2015. It affects the commercialisation of the rights in (...)

The Italian Competition Authority initiates probe against the incumbent telecom operator and live sports streaming service for possible anticompetitive practices in broadcasting the Serie A football matches (Tim / Dazn)
Bird & Bird (Rome)
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Bird & Bird (Rome)
On 8 July 2021, the Italian Competition Authority (“AGCM”) opened an antitrust probe against TIM (the Italian incumbent telecom operator) and DAZN (the live sports streaming service) for possible anti-competitive behaviours stemming from the TV rights agreement between the two companies to (...)

The Italian Competition Authority initiates proceedings against two pay-TV providers for possible anticompetitive practices through the rights agreement for the Liga A football series (Tim / Dazn)
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
ICA: proceeding opened against Tim and Dazn for possible anti-competitive practice through the TV rights agreement for the Liga A football series* The Authority will evaluate the adoption of precautionary measures only if it finds that considerable and irreparable damage to competition results (...)

The US Supreme Court prohibits an association from restraining student-athlete education-related benefits while recognizing the association still retains considerable flexibility to regulate such benefits (NCAA / Alston)
Jones Day (Washington)
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Jones Day (Colombus)
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Jones Day (Washington)
The Court’s ruling that certain NCAA rules violate antitrust law opens the door for student-athletes to receive additional benefits. But it does not extend to compensation relating to athletic performance, conferences remain free to pass their own rules independently, and universities may decide (...)

The US Supreme Court upholds a decision stating that the restrictions imposed by the sports association on education-related compensation for student-athletes violate the antitrust laws (NCAA / Alston)
Baker & Miller (Washington)
More to Supreme Court’s NCAA decision than just sports* Introduction There has been a plethora of articles about the Supreme Court’s 21 June 2021 decision upholding a decision that the restrictions imposed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) on education-related compensation (...)

The US Supreme Court prohibits a sports professional association from imposing conditions on its members as it violates antitrust law through "naked" wage-fixing of student-athletes (NCAA / Alston)
Robert Connolly Law (Palm Springs)
Some “Twinkling of the Eye” Thoughts on NCAA v. Alston* The Supreme Court’s decision in Nat’l Collegiate Athletic Ass’n v. Alston, Nos. 20-512 and 20-520, 2021 WL 2519036, (U.S. June 21, 2021) is a boost for the Antitrust Division’s commitment to prosecute what it calls naked “wage fixing” and “no (...)

The US Supreme Court rules that an association’s restrictions on compensation for college athletes in conjunction with educational expenses amount to an illegal price-fixing agreement in violation of antitrust laws (NCAA / Alston)
Hausfeld (Washington)
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Hausfeld (Washington)
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Hausfeld (Washington)
In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court today ruled (in Alston v. NCAA) that the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s restrictions on compensation to college athletes in conjunction with educational expenses amount to an illegal price-fixing agreement in violation of the antitrust (...)

The US Supreme Court affirms lower court decisions that certain restrictions imposed by a national sports association on educational benefits for student-athletes violate antitrust laws, a decision that may help future antitrust defendants (NCAA / Alston)
Bona Law (Detroit)
On June 21, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed lower court decisions and held that certain NCAA restrictions on educational benefits for student-athletes violated Sherman Act Section 1. The unanimous opinion was a clear win for the plaintiff class and almost certainly will lead to big (...)

The US Supreme Court unanimously affirms that a school sports association’s compensation limits for “education-related benefits” violate antitrust law (NCAA / Alston)
Hausfeld (Washington)
On June 21, 2021, the Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the Northern District of California’s findings in National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Alston concerning the NCAA’s rules limiting college athlete compensation. Leaving no doubt about the need for existential change from within the (...)

The US Supreme Court upholds a district court injunction finding unlawful certain sport association rules limiting the education-related benefits schools may make available to student-athletes (NCAA / Alston)
Mercatus Center - George Mason University (Arlington)
The Supreme Court Misses the Big Consumer Welfare Picture in NCAA v. Alston* In its June 21 opinion in NCAA v. Alston, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and thereby upheld a district court injunction finding unlawful certain National Collegiate (...)

The German Competition Authority provides a preliminary assessment of the national football league’s 50+1 ownership rule (DFL)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt provides preliminary assessment of DFL’s 50+1 ownership rule* The Bundeskartellamt has today informed the Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL, German Football League) of its preliminary assessment under competition law of the so-called 50+1 rule. In the authority’s view the basic rule is (...)

The Polish Competition Authority issues a decision imposing a fine on a CEO for obstructing a dawn raid it conducted against a gym operator (Platinium Wellness)
Bird & Bird (Warsaw)
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Bird & Bird (Warsaw)
In mid-May, the Polish Competition Authority (“UOKiK”) issued a decision imposing a fine on an individual for obstructing a dawn raid conducted by UOKiK officials. During the 2017 dawn raid, the CEO of Platinium Wellness sp. z o.o. - a gym operator (“the Company”), changed the email password on (...)

The Danish Aalborg City Court fines a sportswear manufacturer for retail price maintenance (Fusion)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Denmark: Fine of DKK 500,000 to manufacturer of sportswear for retail price maintenance* On May 7, 2021, the City Court of Aalborg sentenced the Danish manufacturer of sports clothes Fusion ApS to pay a fine of DKK 500.000 (€ 67,242) for resale price maintenance. Moreover, a member of the (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority notifies a statement of probable responsibility in conducting absolute monopolistic practices in the market for the draft of professional soccer players in the national territory
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
COFECE notifies a statement of probable responsibility for a triallike procedure for a possible collusion in the draft of professional soccer players in the national territory* The Investigative Authority concluded its inquiry and issued the statement in which it indicates the probable (...)

The EU Court of Justice publishes the summary of an appeal by a sports association against a General Court’s decision stating that standards restricting athlete participation in rival events infringe Article 101 TFEU (International Skating Union)
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
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Covington & Burling (Brussels)
In May 2021, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) published the summary of an appeal filed by the International Skating Union (“ISU”) against a ruling from the General Court (“GC”) which found that ISU rules restricting athletes from taking part in rival events infringed Article 101 (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority for the first time issues statements of objections for an anticompetitive agreement in the labor market against national football league and 31 sports companies who agreed not to hire back employees who terminated their employment due to COVID-19 (Portuguese Professional Football League) Free
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
AdC issues Statements of Objections for anticompetitive agreement in the labour market for the first time* The AdC (Portuguese Competition Authority) has issued for the first time Statements of Objections for an agreement not to hire workers, in this case involving the Portuguese Professional (...)

The Polish Competition Authority initiates proceedings against national basketball clubs for limiting competition (Energa Basket Liga)
Polish Competition Authority (Warsaw)
The President of UOKiK brings charges of limiting competition against basketball clubs* President of UOKiK Tomasz Chróstny has initiated antitrust proceedings against the Energa Basket Liga and sixteen basketball clubs. The subject matter of the proceedings is the establishment of principles of (...)

The Australian Federal Court fines a sports brand for resale price maintenance (FE Sports)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
FE Sports to pay $350,000 penalty for resale price maintenance* The Federal Court has ordered wholesale distributor B & K Holdings (QLD) Pty Ltd, trading as FE Sports, to pay a $350,000 penalty after it declared by consent that FE Sports engaged in resale price maintenance in relation to (...)

The Australian Federal Court orders a wholesaler of cycling accessories and sporting products to pay $350,000 for engaging in resale price maintenance (FE Sports)
Ashurst (Brisbane)
The Federal Court of Australia has ordered that FE Sports, a wholesaler of cycling accessories and sporting products, pay AUD 350,000 (among other orders) for engaging in resale price maintenance ("RPM"). FE Sports admitted to the conduct. Key takeaways Suppliers must not prevent, or attempt (...)

The Polish Competition Authority fines a sports equipment retailer for price-fixing (Spokey)
Polish Competition Authority (Warsaw)
Penalty for price fixing of Spokey sports equipment* For almost 8 years, Spokey company has been fixing minimum prices at which on-line stores could sell sports equipment of this brand, such as rollerblades or scooters. President of UOKiK Tomasz Chróstny imposed a penalty of half a million PLN (...)

The Polish Competition Authority fines several fitness chains for collusion (Benefit Systems / Bartosz Gibała / Platinium Wellness)
Polish Competition Authority (Warsaw)
Collusion on the fitness market - decision by the President of UOKiK* Tomasz Chróstny, the President of UOKiK, has imposed over PLN 32 million in financial penalties on the largest fitness chains, including Benefit Systems (operator of MultiSport cards) for a competition-restricting collusion (...)

The Italian Supreme Administrative Court upholds the lower court’s annulment of the Competition Authority’s decision to fine broadcasters for an alleged anti-competitive agreement in the pay-TV service sector (League / Infront / Sky / Mediaset)
Ashurst (Brussels)
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Ashurst (Milan)
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Ashurst (Brussels)
On 12 December 2020, Italy’s highest administrative court, the Council of State, upheld the annulment of the Italian Competition Authority’s ("ICA") decision to fine broadcasters Mediaset and Sky Italia, the Italian Football League, and marketing agency Infront a total of €66m for an alleged (...)

The Italian Supreme Administrative Court rejects the Competition Authority’s judgment, ruling that the allocation of broadcasting rights is not the result of an anticompetitive agreement between companies in the pay-TV sector (League / Infront / Sky / Mediaset)
Bird & Bird (Rome)
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Bird & Bird (Rome)
On 28 December 2020, the Italian Supreme Administrative Court (Consiglio di Stato – "CDS") issued a judgment marking the last act in the national judicial dispute related to the assignment of the Lega Serie A (i.e. the main national professional league in Italy – "the League") broadcasting rights (...)

The EU General Court delivers ruling on the application of competition law to sports authorization rules and upholds the role of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (International Skating Union)
White & Case (Brussels)
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White & Case (Dusseldorf)
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White & Case (Geneva)
The General Court of the European Union (the "General Court") has confirmed this week that the eligibility rules of the International Skating Union ("ISU"), which penalized athletes participating in competitions not authorized by the ISU, infringe EU competition law. While the EU General Court (...)

The EU General Court rules that sports associations can not stop athletes from competing in third-party events (International Skating Union)
King & Spalding (Brussels)
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Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
On 16 December 2020, the General Court largely confirmed the European Commission’s Decision according to which the International Skating Union’s (the “ISU”) rules on eligibility are contrary to EU competition law. However, it partially annulled the Commission’s Decision on the ground that it failed (...)

The EU General Court confirms that the rules of a sports union providing severe penalties for athletes taking part in other speed skating events are contrary to EU competition law (International Skating Union)
General Court of the European Union (Luxembourg)
The General Court confirms that the rules of the International Skating Union (ISU) providing for severe penalties for athletes taking part in speed skating events not recognised by it are contrary to EU competition law* On the other hand, the Commission was wrong to dispute the ISU’s (...)

The EU General Court issues a judgment stating that an international skating union may apply a prior authorization system for third party events only if the applicable rules and procedures are fair, transparent and proportionate (International Skating Union)
Free University of Brussels (ULB)
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Ashurst (Brussels)
On 16 December 2020 the General Court of the European Union (the "Court") issued an important ruling in the International Skating Union ("ISU") case. While accepting that sports governing bodies may apply a prior authorisation system for third party events to ensure that all sports competitions (...)

The EU General Court judges that sports federations’ rule of banning athletes for participation in unauthorized events can – in certain circumstances – constitute a by object infringement of Article 101 TFEU (International Skating Union)
University of Liège
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Koutalidis Law Firm (Athens)
By its Judgment of 16 December 2020, the General Court (‘GC’) confirms the European Commission’s (‘Commission’) Decision finding that the International Skating Union’s (‘ISU’) governance rules violate competition law. The Judgment backs the Commission’s conclusion that the ISU’s rules banning athletes (...)

The Japanese FTC closes investigation into conduct that allegedly caused all 12 members of a professional baseball association to refuse to sign contracts with certain players (Nippon Professional Baseball)
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
Closing the Investigation on the Suspected Violation of the Antimonopoly Act by Nippon Professional Baseball* The Japan Fair Trade Commission (hereinafter referred to as the “JFTC”) has investigated Nippon Professional Baseball (hereinafter referred to as the “NPB”). The NPB is the Japanese top (...)

The Australian Competition Authority commences proceedings against a wholesale distributor of cycling and sporting products for resale price maintenance (FE Sports)
Jones Day (Melbourne)
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Jones Day (Cleveland)
A new ACCC resale price maintenance case provides a timely reminder that manufacturers and suppliers must tread carefully with distribution arrangements related to price in Australia. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission ("ACCC") has commenced proceedings against FE Sports, (...)

Sports & competition law: an overview of EU and national case law
Altius (Brussels)
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NMBS-SNCB (Brussels)
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Altius (Brussels)
In 1974 the Court of Justice of the EU (“CJEU”) concluded in its famous Walrave and Koch case that sport is subject to EU law as far as it constitutes an economic activity. In the Meca-Medina case of 2006 the Court confirmed that sporting regulations that have economic effects could be analysed (...)

The Amsterdam Court of Appeal upholds the legality for non-luxury brands to ban resale on third-party platforms (Nike / Action Sport / Amazon)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
On 14 July 2020, the Amsterdam Court of Appeal (the “Court”) handed down its judgment in the dispute between Nike European Operations Netherlands B.V. (“NEON”) and Action Sport SOC. COOP, A.R.L. (“Action Sport”), an Italian retailer of Nike’s sportswear, footwear and related products. The Court upheld (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority accepts commitments from a training company to limit its use of exclusive agreements with fitness studios and closes its investigations into another two companies (Bruce / Classpass / Swiftr)
Swedish Competition Authority (Stockholm)
Swedish Competition Authority accepts commitments from training company* Bruce is a company that offers training services. The company has offered to limit its use of exclusive agreements with fitness studios in order to avoid that competition concerns arise. The Swedish Competition Authority (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority does not consider the relegation of the football club to division 1B prima facie incompatible with competition law (FC Waasland-Beveren)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Competition College does not consider the relegation of the football club Waasland-Beveren to division 1B prima facie incompatible with competition law* The Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) has on the 2nd of July 2020 imposed on the Pro League (Belgian premium (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority imposes on the national football league a precautionary measure to suspend its no-poaching agreement, invoking issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic (Portuguese Professional Football League) Free
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
Covid - 19: AdC imposes precautionary measure on the Portuguese Football League that suspends no-poach agreement* The AdC ordered the Portuguese Professional Football League (LPFP in Portuguese) to immediately suspend the no-poach agreement, an agreement to not recruit or hire another clubs’ (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rules against a sports association’s policy of limiting the compensation paid to student-athletes and affirms limited injunctions (NCAA / Alston)
Hogan Lovells (Washington)
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Hogan Lovells (Washington)
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Hogan Lovells (Washington)
On 18 May 2020 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in an antitrust case challenging the association’s policy of limiting the compensation paid to student-athletes. The decision is the latest concerning the NCAA’s (...)

The German Competition Authority discontinues its administrative proceeding against 2 TV broadcasters who secured exclusive rights to champions league broadcast because of new market entrants and the unpredictability of football season due to the COVID-19 pandemic (Sky / DAZN) Free
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Proceeding against Sky and DAZN discontinued – Award procedure relating to Champions League broadcasting rights* Today, the Bundeskartellamt discontinued its proceeding against Sky Ltd., London, and DAZN Group Ltd., London, for discretionary reasons; the proceeding had been conducted due to (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Authority opens an investigation into a suspected anticompetitive agreement among a national basketball league and individual basketball clubs and warns similar agreements are not justified by the COVID-19 pandemic (Lietuvos krepšinio lyga) Free
Lithuanian Competition Authority (Vilnius)
KONKURENCIJOS TARYBA LAUNCHES INVESTIGATION INTO SUSPECTED ANTI-COMPETITIVE AGREEMENT AMONG LITHUANIAN BASKETBALL LEAGUE AND BASKETBALL CLUBS* The Lithuanian competition authority Konkurencijos taryba has launched an investigation into a suspected anti-competitive agreement among the (...)

The German Competition Authority approves a joint sale of media rights of individual football matches by a central association (DLF)
Bird & Bird (Dusseldorf)
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Bird & Bird (Dusseldorf)
The Federal Cartel Office has approved the German Football League´s (“DFL”) marketing model for the transmission rights of the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 matches from the 2021/22 season onwards. DLF´s marketing model is based on the joint sale of media rights of individual football matches. Such (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority accepts commitments by a sports brand in connection with contractual provisions applied within its selective distribution network (Adidas / LDC)
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
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Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
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Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
The CNMC has reached a commitments decision with Adidas regarding restrictive practices in the Spanish retail market for clothing and footwear contrary to Article 1 SCA. Adidas submitted commitments addressing the CNMC’s concerns regarding certain clauses in the retail sports clothing company’s (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority imposes interim measures on a billiards game association following a complaint raised on its anticompetitive rules (Belgian Bumper Pool Association)
University of Leiden - Europa Institute (Leiden)
In a decision of 24 January 2020, the Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority imposed an interim measure on the Belgian Bumper Pool Association (Belgian Golf Billiards League, BGB) concerning the balls that may be played with in competitions and matches organised by the BGB or (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority issues a preliminary injunction against the use of exclusivity provisions in vertical agreements by the owner of a training aggregator app (Bruce)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 5 December 2019, the Swedish Competition Authority (“SCA”) issued a preliminary injunction against IM WITH BRUCE (“Bruce”), the owner of a so-called “training aggregator” app which offers subscribers access to a variety of fitness studios, prohibiting Bruce from using exclusivity provisions in its (...)

The Finnish Administrative Court allows game organizers to continue their fantasy sports operations while the definition of a lottery is being reviewed (Veikkaus Oy)
Bird & Bird (Helsinki)
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Bird & Bird (Helsinki)
The Finnish gambling market is one of the most regulated in Europe; state-owned Veikkaus Oy has the exclusive right to provide gambling services in Finland. The Lotteries Act (1047/2001) stipulates that the definition of a lottery is fulfilled when an activity includes three elements: a charge (...)

The French Competition Authority and the Austrian Competition Authority carry out unannounced inspections in the automatic swimming pool cleaning equipment distribution sector
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Dawn raids* The General Rapporteur of the Austrian competition authority and the General Rapporteur of the Autorité de la concurrence indicate that unannounced inspections have been carried out in the automatic swimming pool cleaning equipment distribution sector. Following judicial (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines several companies for bid-rigging in the context of tenders for the assignment of broadcasting rights of football matches in tournaments organized by the Italian football league (MP Silva / IMG / B4 Capital)
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
ICA: agreement on tenders for the assignment of international rights to football on TV. MP Silva, IMG and B4 Capital fined 67 million Euros* On April 24 the Italian Competition Authority concluded an investigation, ascertaining a violation of art. 101, paragraph 1, of the Treaty on the (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines 3 undertakings that have rigged tenders for the national football league for the award of international broadcasting rights (MP Silva / IMG / B4 Capital)
Portolano Cavallo (Rome)
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Portolano Cavallo (Milan)
By Decision of April 24, 2019, the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) has ascertained that three undertakings had rigged tenders for the Italian Football League (IFL) for the award of international broadcasting rights from 2008/2009 to 2016/2017. This finding, theoretically, could lead to (...)

The EU Court of Justice holds that national rules on limitation of antitrust damages claims may violate the principle of effectiveness (Cogeco / Sport TV Portugal)
Sérvulo (Lisbon)
The first preliminary ruling on Directive 2014/104/EU: Case 637/17 Cogeco* Introduction With two major decisions, March 2019 was an interesting month with regard to the Court of Justice’s (also ‘ECJ’) case-law on private enforcement of competition law: Skanska (C-724/17) and Cogeco (C-637/17). (...)

The EU Court of Justice rules on the scope of a national limitation period in light of the Damages Directive (Cogeco / Sport TV Portugal)
Court of First Instance of Namur (Namur)
On 28 March 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“ECJ”) ruled on a preliminary reference from a Portuguese court on the scope of the Portuguese limitation period in light of Directive 2014/104 on certain rules governing actions for damages under national law for infringements of the (...)

The EU Court of Justice holds that national rules on limitation of antitrust damages claims may violate the principle of effectiveness (Cogeco / Sport TV Portugal)
Hogan Lovells (Munich)
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Hogan Lovells (Munich)
The European Court of Justice in Cogeco rejects a direct effect of the Damages Directive in the pre-implementation phase, but establishes that the principle of effectiveness may itself render national rules on limitation of antitrust damages claims ineffective. The European Court of Justice (...)

The EU Commission imposes a fine totaling €12.5 million on a multinational company selling football apparel and footwear for restricting cross-border sales of its merchandise (Nike)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines Nike €12.5 million for restricting cross-border sales of merchandising products* The European Commission has fined Nike €12.5 million for banning traders from selling licensed merchandise to other countries within the EEA. This restriction concerned merchandising (...)

The EU Commission imposes €12.5 million fine on a company for restricting cross-border sales of merchandising products (Nike)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 25 March 2019, the European Commission (“Commission”) announced its decision to fine Nike € 12,555,000 for limiting the ability of licensees to sell licensed merchandising products to other EEA countries. According to the Commission’s press release, the restrictions concerned the merchandise (...)

The EU Commission fines a company for restricting the cross-border and online sales of branded merchandise by its European licensees (Nike)
Crowell & Moring (Brussels)
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Crowell & Moring (Brussels)
E-Commerce in Europe: A Look into Nike’s Huge Antitrust Fines* On March 25, the European Commission (EC) fined Nike €12.5 million for restricting cross-border and online sales of branded merchandise by its European licensees. In December last year, the EC fined Guess €40 million for imposing (...)

The EU Commission fines a sportswear company €12.5 million for breaching competition rules through its licensing and distribution agreements with resellers (Nike)
Portolano Cavallo (Milan)
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Portolano Cavallo (Milan)
On March 25, 2019, the European Commission announced the € 12,555,000 fine issued to Nike for breaching European Union and European Economic Area (EEA) competition rules through its licensing and distribution agreements with resellers, more specifically for prohibiting merchants from making (...)

The US District Court for the Northern District of California finds that an athletic association’s cap on grants given to athletes is an anticompetitive restraint of trade (NCAA / Alston)
Constantine Cannon (New York)
NCAA May Have Lost Antitrust Case to Student-Athletes, But How Much Did It Really Lose?* Friday’s 104-page ruling in the antitrust case challenging the compensation rules of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) is not a clear-cut victory for either side. Although Judge Claudia (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority finds no-poaching clauses in a gym company’s franchising agreements to be against competition law (BFIT)
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
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ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
This case summary includes an analysis of Turkish Competition Board’s (the “Board”) BFIT preliminary investigation decision (07.02.2019, 19-06/64-27) in which the Board evaluated non-compete and no-poaching obligations imposed by Bfit Sağlık ve Spor Yatırım ve Tic. A.Ş. (“BFIT”) to its franchisees. (...)

The EU Court of Justice Advocate General Juliane Kokott recommends that the EU Damages Directive not apply to proceedings that begun in a Member State before the transposition of the Directive (Cogeco / Sport TV Portugal)
Gómez-Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gómez-Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gómez-Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
Following the decision of the Portuguese Competition Authority finding that Sport TV had engaged in an abuse of dominance between 2006 and 2011, in February 2015, Cogeco, a Canadian cable company, brought an action for damages against Sport TV Portugal . Cogeco claimed that the EU Damages (...)

Unilateral Practices

The French Competition Authority rejects a TV broadcaster’s complaint against the national football league’s rewarding of broadcasting rights due to insufficient evidence (Canal Plus / Ligue de Football Professionnel)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Reawarding of the football Ligue 1’s TV rights: The Autorité de la concurrence rejects Canal + Group’s complaint against the LFP, for lack of sufficient evidence* Background On 29 January 2021, Canal Plus Group ("GCP") referred practices allegedly implemented by the Ligue de Football (...)

The Indian Competition Authority launches an investigation against a baseball federation and grants an interim injunction (Confederation of Professional Baseball Softball Clubs / Amateur Baseball Federation of India)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The CCI considered at prima facie stage allegations by the Confederation of Professional Baseball Softball Clubs (CPBSC) that the Amateur Baseball Federation of India (ABFI) had abused its dominant position by prohibiting State Baseball Associations from dealing with bodies and leagues not (...)

The Indian Competition Authority rejects the allegations of abuse of dominance made against sports federations (Volleyball Federation of India / Baseline)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The CCI considered allegations made by a number of volleyball players registered with the Volleyball Federation of India (VFI) that the VFI, together with Baseline Ventures (India) Private Limited (Baseline), had acted in breach of the Competition Act. The Informants alleged that the VFI, in (...)

The Italian Competition Authority closes investigations against two football teams for unfair clauses in season ticket contracts (Brescia / Lecce)
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
ICA: investigations closed against the Brescia and Lecce football teams for unfair clauses in season ticket contracts* The football clubs have modified their contractual conditions, however Lecce’s clauses excluding reimbursement in the event of supervening impossibility of providing the (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority opens an investigation against a national football federation for abuse of dominant position (RFEF)
Bird & Bird (Madrid)
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Ecija & Asociados (Madrid)
The sale and use of audio-visual football rights in Spain has always been in the spotlight due to frequent controversies between the Spanish Football Federation (“RFEF”), the national professional football league (“LaLiga”) and the football clubs. At a national level, LaLiga organises the first (...)

The Brussels Court of Appeal annuls the Competition Authority’s decision rejecting a football club’s request for interim measures (Virton / RBFA)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In a judgment delivered on 19 November 2020, the Markets Court of the Brussels Court of Appeal (Marktenhof / Cour des marchés) (the Markets Court) annulled the decision adopted on 29 June 2020 by the Competition College (Mededingingscollege / Collège de la concurrence) of the Belgian Competition (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority rules that a national football association’s conditions to obtain a professional license are prima facie incompatible with competition law and orders interim measures (Virton / RBFA)
University of Liège
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University of Liège
On 19 November 2020, the Belgian Competition Authority (“BCA”) ordered interim measures against the Royal Belgian Football Association (“RBFA”) following a request filed by the professional football club Royal Excelsior Virton (“RE Virton”). The BCA considered that the RBFA’s refusal to grant a (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority imposes interim measures requested by a football club following an appeal judgment (Virton / RBFA)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 19 November 2020, the Competition College (Mededingingscollege / Collège de la concurrence) of the Belgian Competition Authority (Belgische Mededingingsautoriteit / Autorité belge de la Concurrence - the BCA) imposed interim measures on the Royal Belgian Football Association (the RBFA) at the (...)

The Swiss Competition Authority fines a cable operator for abusing broadcasting rights (UPC - Swiss Ice Hockey Championship)
Swiss Competition Commission (Bern)
COMCO: UPC abused ice hockey broadcasting rights* The Competition Commission (COMCO) fines UPC by around CHF 30 million. In 2016, UPC acquired broadcasting rights for games of the Swiss Ice Hockey Championship. It refused to supply Swisscom with broadcasts of live ice hockey for years. This (...)

The Swiss Competition Authority imposes a fine for abuse of dominant position in the market for ice hockey broadcasting (UPC)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 20 October 2020, the Swiss Competition Commission (“COMCO”) fined UPC (a group member of Liberty Global) CHF 30 million for abuse of dominance for refusing to supply live broadcasts of the Swiss Ice Hockey Championship to Swisscom. UPC was found to be dominant on the basis of its exclusive (...)

The Australian Competition Authority initiates court proceedings against a wholesale distributor of cycling and sporting products for alleged resale price maintenance (FE Sports)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
FE Sports allegedly engaged in resale price maintenance* The ACCC has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against B & K Holdings (QLD) Pty Ltd, trading as FE Sports, alleging that it engaged in resale price maintenance for the wholesale supply of cycling and sporting products in (...)

The Albanian Administrative Court of First Instance in Tirana ascertains the abuse of the dominant position by the national football federation (Albanian Football Federation)
Albanian Competition Authority
Republic of Albania Competition Authority* The Competition Authority informs that: Today on 21.09.2020, the Administrative Court of First Instance in Tirana decided: To uphold the Competition’s Commission Decision no. 693, dated 14.05.2020 "To ascertain the abuse of the dominant position of (...)

The German Monopolies Commission calls for a level competitive playing field in the sports sector and invites the Competition Authority to issue special guidelines for the sector
White & Case (Dusseldorf)
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White & Case (Dusseldorf)
On July 29, 2020, the German Monopolies Commission published its 2020 biennial Report on Competition (Hauptgutachten XXIII: Wettbewerb 2020) under Section 44(1) Act against Restraints of Competition (“GWB”). In its report, the Monopolies Commission – a permanent, independent advisory body which (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority imposes interim measures against a sports association because of its anticompetitive rules (Belgian Bumper Pool Association)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
Interim measure imposed on the Belgian Bumper Pool Association concerning the bumper pool balls that may be played with in competitions and matches* At the request of HCSB BVBA (manufacturer of bumper pool balls), the Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) has imposed (...)

The Croatian Competition Authority finds that the national taekwondo federation did not abuse its dominant position (Croatian Taekwondo Federation)
Croatian Competition Agency (Zagreb)
Croatian Taekwondo Federation did not abuse dominant position* The Croatian Competition Agency (CCA) found that the latter that was sent by the Croatian Taekwondo Federation (CTF) to all its members including the complainant – the undertaking LMK, potentially limited access only to a smaller (...)

The German Competition Authority announces that two sports committees committed to enlarging the advertising opportunities for German athletes during the Olympic Games (DOSB / IOC)
Bird & Bird (Dusseldorf)
On 27 February 2019, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) issued a press release announcing that the German Olympic Sports Confederation (“DOSB”) and the International Olympic Committee (“IOC”) committed to enlarge the advertising opportunities for German athletes during the Olympic Games. This (...)

Mergers

The UK Competition Authority orders a sneaker and apparel retailer to sell one of its companies to preserve competition (JD Sports / Footasylum)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA requires JD Sports to sell Footasylum* The CMA has instructed JD Sports to sell Footasylum after its in-depth investigation identified competition concerns. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has found that the takeover could lead to a substantial reduction in competition and a (...)

The UK Competition Authority reassesses a merger in the activewear sector and provisionally finds that it raises competition concerns (JD Sports / Footasylum)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Competition concerns remain over JD Sports merger* The CMA has provisionally found JD Sports’ takeover of Footasylum could lead to a worse deal for shoppers, after reassessing the merger. Following the CMA’s final decision to block the merger between JD Sports and Footasylum in May 2020, JD (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority urges a national telecommunications company to modify its agreement with a global sports subscription video streaming service to be compatible with the commitments acquired in its takeover of a multichannel audio technologies firm (Telefónica / DTS)
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC urges Telefónica to modify its agreement with Dazn to be compatible with the commitments acquired in its take-over of DTS* In 2015, the Commission authorised the Telefónica/DTS take-over subject to a series of commitments related to pay television. The recent agreement between Telefónica (...)

The Japanese Competition Authority reviews the proposed acquisition of an American consumer electronics and fitness retailer by a Big Tech company (Fitbit / Google)
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
The JFTC Reviewed the Proposed Acquisition of Fitbit, Inc. by Google LLC* This case concerns a proposed transaction in which Google LLC (JCN3700150072195) (hereinafter referred to as “Google”) headquartered in the U.S. planned to acquire Fitbit, Inc. headquartered in the U.S. Google Group (a (...)

The EU Commission conditionally clears acquisition by a Big Tech company of a smartwatch company active in several complementary markets, including app stores, online advertising, and the nascent digital healthcare sector (Fitbit / Google)
Norton Rose Fulbright (Brussels)
Google/Fitbit – The EU Commission Misses a Step* The European Commission’s 254-page decision approving Google’s acquisition of Fitbit (the “Decision”) offered the Commission a so-far unique opportunity to apply the 2019 report on “Competition policy for the digital era’s” (the “Digital Era (...)

The UK Competition Authority looks to appeal a Competition Appeal Tribunal judgment stating the lack of information regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in sportswear retailer case (JD Sports / Footasylum) Free
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA looks to appeal CAT judgment in JD Sports case* After careful consideration, the CMA has today applied for permission to appeal the CAT’s recent judgment in the JD Sports/Footasylum case. Last month, the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) supported the Competition and Markets Authority’s (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal upholds the appeal brought by a company for a merger in the sport retail sector in light of the COVID-19 pandemic (JD Sports / Footasylum) Free
Ashurst (London)
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Ashurst (London)
On 13 November 2020, the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal ("CAT") published its judgment in relation to the merger of JD Sports and Footasylum. The merger was prohibited by the UK Competition and Markets Authority ("CMA") in May, but JD Sports appealed. The CAT partially upheld the appeal and the (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal dismisses the Competition Authority’s decision and authorizes the acquisition of a company in the sports retailing sector in light of the COVID-19 pandemic (JD Sports / Footasylum) Free
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 13 November 2020, the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal (“CAT”) upheld an appeal brought by JD Sports against the Competition and Markets Authority’s (“CMA”) decision to prohibit its already completed acquisition of rival retailer Footasylum. On 6 May 2020, the CMA had blocked the merger between the (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal supports the Competition Authority’s approach to estimating the merger effects on consumers but finds that it did not gather enough information about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the merger (JD Sports / Footasylum) Free
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA considers next steps in JD Sports/Footasylum merger* The CMA is considering its next steps following today’s Competition Appeal Tribunal judgment in the JD Sports/Footasylum case. JD Sports had appealed the Competition and Market Authority’s (CMA) final decision to block its takeover of (...)

The EU Commission unconditionally clears a merger of two multinational groups both active in sports broadcasting and sale of advertising space (PPF / CME)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves PPF’s acquisition of CME* The European Commission has approved unconditionally, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of Central European Media Enterprises ("CME") by PPF Group NV ("PPF"). The Commission concluded the transaction would raise no (...)

The New Zealand Competition Authority receives a clearance application from a technical production company to acquire a broadcasting business (NEP / Sky)
New Zealand Commerce Commission (Wellington)
NEP seeks clearance to acquire Sky’s outside broadcasting assets* The Commerce Commission has received a clearance application from NEP Broadcast Services New Zealand Limited to acquire from Sky Network Television Limited the assets of its outside broadcasting business, Outside Broadcasting (...)

The UK Competition Authority fines a sports manufacturer and its parent company for breach of merger-freeze order with a footwear retailer (JD Sports / Footasylum)
Government Legal Department (London)
On 5 August 2020, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (the “CMA”) fined JD Sports and its parent company Pentland Group £300,000 for failing to comply with an initial enforcement order (“IEO”) imposed with regard to JD Sports’ completed merger with footwear retailer Footasylum. The CMA found JD (...)

The UK Competition Authority blocks a sports-fashion retailer acquisition finding that even with the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacting the relevant sector, the transaction would lead to a substantial lessening of competition nationally (JD Sports / Footasylum) Free
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 6 May 2020, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) blocked the sports-fashion retailer JD Sports’ already completed purchase of sportswear retailer Foot- asylum. The CMA concluded that the parties were close competitors and the transaction would lead to a substan- tial lessening of (...)

The UK Competition Authority blocks a sports-fashion merger finding that even with the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacting the sector, there would still be negative effects on competition if the merger proceeded (JD Sports / Footasylum) Free
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA blocks sports-fashion merger* The CMA has blocked JD Sports’ purchase of close competitor Footasylum after finding it would leave shoppers worse off. Following an in-depth Phase 2 investigation, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has concluded that this transaction would lead to a (...)

The UK Competition Authority unconditionally clears a merger between two main online betting brands in the country (Flutter / Stars)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Merger between betting firms cleared by the CMA* Following an investigation, the CMA has cleared the merger between gambling companies Flutter and Stars. The companies are 2 of the main online betting brands in the UK, with a combined revenue of £1.5 billion. Flutter owns Paddy Power and (...)

The UK Competition Authority finds that a merger in the sports fashion market raises competition concerns (JD Sports / Footasylum)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Sports fashion merger raises competition concerns* The CMA has found that JD Sports’ takeover of close competitor Footasylum could be bad for shoppers. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is concerned that the loss of competition brought about by the merger could result in a worse deal (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger on the market for the transfer of professional players, which had never been defined before by decision-making practice (Ineos / OGC Nice)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Professional football* The Autorité de la concurrence clears the acquisition of OGC Nice by Ineos On 22 July 2019, Ineos notified the Autorité de la concurrence of its plan to acquire control of SASP Olympique Gymnaste Club de Nice Côte d’Azur, which manages the OGC Nice football club. By a (...)

State Aid

The EU Court of Justice rules that the Commission must re-examine whether the sale of a motorsports association entails a grant of State Aid (Ja zum Nürburgring / NeXovation)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
The Commission must re-examine whether the sale of the Nürburgring in 2014 entailed a grant of State aid* In the same year, it wrongly ruled out the presence of doubts as to the possible existence of an advantage conferred on the buyer and decided not to open a formal investigation procedure (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves the prolongation of a Norwegian State aid scheme for sporting events of national importance amidst the COVID-19 pandemic Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves prolongation of Norwegian aid scheme for sporting events of national importance* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved a prolongation until 31 October 2021 of a scheme providing support to sporting events affected by the ongoing COVID-19 (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves a Norwegian aid scheme for sporting events of national importance Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves Norwegian aid scheme for sporting events of national importance* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved an aid scheme that will provide financial support to voluntary organisations organising sporting events considered to be of national (...)

The EU Commission approves a French state aid scheme to compensate ski lift operators for damages suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves French scheme to compensate ski lifts operators for damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a French scheme with a budget between €140 and €700 million to compensate ski lifts operators for the (...)

The EU Court of Justice further relaxes the standards of review of “aid schemes” and annuls the General Court’s judgment on Spanish football clubs (Fútbol Club Barcelona)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 4 March 2021, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) delivered another interesting judgment (Case C-362/19 P) in the “Spanish football club saga”, which set aside the General Court’s (“GC”) judgment of 26 February 2019, Fútbol Club Barcelona v Commission (Case T-865/16, the “judgment under appeal”), (...)

The EU Court of Justice decides that the various components of a tax system form an indivisible whole and the effect they produce differ (Fútbol Club Barcelona)
Maastricht University
“Global” Assessment of Tax Schemes* It is incumbent on the Commission to carry out a global assessment of tax schemes. But it must take into account only those provisions of schemes that apply ex ante and do not depend on the circumstances of individual tax payers. Only when aid has to be (...)

The EU Court of Justice rules that a football club received illegal State aid and sets aside the judgment of the General Court (Fùtbol Club Barcelona)
Free University of Brussels (ULB)
On 4 March 2021, the European Court of Justice ("ECJ") handed down its much awaited judgment in the Fùtbol Club Barcelona ("FCB") case. It set aside the judgment of the General Court. As a result, the European Commission’s decision classifying as State aid a tax scheme that was available to four (...)

The EU Court of Justice sets aside the judgment of the General Court which annuls the Commission’s decision and classifies as State aid the Spanish tax scheme in the football clubs sector (Fútbol Club Barcelona)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
The Court of Justice sets aside the judgment of the General Court by which the Commission’s decision classifying as State aid the tax scheme of four Spanish professional football clubs had been annulled* The action which had been brought by Fútbol Club Barcelona against that decision is (...)

The EU Commission approves €202 million Croatian scheme to support companies in the tourism and sports sectors in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €202 million Croatian scheme to support companies in the tourism and sports sectors in the context of coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved an approximately €202 million (HRK 1.525 billion) Croatian State aid scheme to support companies of all (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves Norwegian renewal of support scheme for cultural events due to the COVID-19 pandemic Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves renewal of support scheme for cultural events in Norway* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved renewal and amendments of a scheme to cover losses following cancellation and postponement of events. Events across Norway have been cancelled or (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves renewal of Norwegian support to event organizers in the sports and voluntary sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves renewal of support to event organisers in the sports and voluntary sector* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved renewal and amendments of a scheme to cover losses following cancellation and postponement of events. Events across Norway have (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority greenlights amendments and prolongation of Norwegian schemes compensating losses for sport, voluntary and cultural events due to the COVID-19 pandemic Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 Pandemic: ESA greenlights amendments and prolongation of schemes compensating losses for sport, voluntary and cultural events* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has approved amendments and prolongation of two schemes for organisers in the culture, sports and voluntary sector in (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority prolongs and amends 6 sets of state aid guidelines to guarantee legal certainty in light of the COVID-19 pandemic Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
State Aid: ESA prolongs and amends guidelines* Today, the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has decided to prolong six sets of state aid guidelines that were due to expire at the end of 2020. The decision, which mirrors that taken by the European Commission on 2 July 2020, is designed to (...)

The EU General Court annuls the Commission’s decision that a football club received over €20 million in unlawful State aid (Valencia Club)
Oxera (Brussels)
The General Court has annulled the European Commission’s decision that Valencia Club de Fútbol (Valencia CF) received over €20m in unlawful state aid. Oxera undertook the financial analysis that supported Valencia CF’s appeal to the General Court, and which underpinned the annulment of the European (...)

The EU General Court annuls the Commission’s decision ordering Spain to recover €18 million of incompatible State aid (Real Madrid)
Gómez-Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gómez-Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gómez-Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
On 22 May 2019, the General Court rendered its judgment on the action for annulment filed by Real Madrid against the Commission Decision of 4 July 2018 that (i) declared that the football club had been granted incompatible State aid worth EUR 18 million; and (ii) ordered Spain to recover this (...)

The EU Court of Justice and the General Court render two judgments on State aid showing how the Courts approach a judicial review of complex economic assessments when the burden of proof is on the Commission (Frucona Kosice) (Fútbol Club Barcelona)
Garrigues (Brussels)
EU Judicial Review: Major Antitrust Implications of Recent State Aid Cases* We competition lawyers often wrongly approach our discipline in isolation from the wider context in which it is applied. This is also true when it comes to judicial review. We tend to forget that antitrust is only a (...)

The EU General Court annuls the Commission’s State aid decision concerning a Spanish tax regime (Athletic Club)
Gómez-Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gómez-Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gómez-Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
In 2016, the Commission adopted a decision declaring that four Spanish professional football clubs (i.e., Fútbol Club Barcelona, Club Atlético Osasuna, Athletic Club and Real Madrid Club de Fútbol) had received incompatible state aid in the form of corporate tax privileges. As a consequence, Spain (...)

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