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Benoît Keane – Profile


 

In Brief

Benoît Keane is a leading European lawyer. He specialises in European law and European competition law in particular relating to the sports and media sectors. Benoît regularly represents clients before the European Commission and European Courts.     

In Detail

Benoît Keane is qualified as a Solicitor (England & Wales) and Avocat (Barreau de Bruxelles).  He is an experienced adviser on a range of European legal matters to companies, sports organisations, trade associations, public authorities, and media bodies. He regularly acts in cases before the European Commission and the European Courts. Chambers Europe 2017 has recommended Benoît as a leading lawyer in Competition/European law.

Benoît is based in Brussels and works with clients and law firms across Europe.  Before starting his own practice, Benoît worked for a number of international law firms in Brussels, London and Paris. Clients receive, therefore, the professional service of a dedicated and internationally experienced advocate.  

European sports law and European media law

Benoît is recognised as an “expert” in European sports law by the directory Who’s Who Legal and was ranked “Most Highly Regarded” in 2015.  He has acted in many of the leading cases of the last decade on a range of matters relating to both the regulatory and commercial aspects of sport.  He has also appeared as an expert witness on EU law before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Drawing on this experience, he advises on European sports law issues and, in particular, the application of European free movement and competition law to the regulatory rules of sports organisations as well as their commercial activities.

Benoît has also developed an expertise in European media law.  He advises media organisations on the application of European media law, IP law and competition law to their activities. 

Professional Background

Benoît, who comes from Ireland, read law at University College Cork. He obtained a master’s degree in European law at the College of Europe in Bruges.  He worked in London and Paris for an international law firm before moving to Brussels in 2003 to undertake a stage in the European Commission (DG Competition).  He qualified as a Solicitor of England & Wales in 2003.  He then practised as a lawyer for a number of international law firms in Brussels before establishing his own practice in 2012.  He became an Avocat of the Barreau de Bruxelles in 2017.  

Benoît regularly writes and speaks on developments in European law and policy.  He is a trustee of the Institute of International & European Affairs (Brussels) AISBL having previously served as Chair from 2007 to 2009.  He is the European law contributor to Sports Law Administration and Practice and a member of the Editorial Board of the competition law journal World Competition.

Recent cases of note: 

- Striani v. UEFA: Acts for UEFA in a case brought under EU competition law before the Belgian courts against the UEFA Financial Fair Play (FFP) Regulations (also related case before the European Commission).

- Doyen Sports v. FIFA, UEFA, URBSFA and FIFPro: Acts for UEFA before the Belgian courts in a series of cases concerning FIFA’s rule prohibiting Third Party Ownership of football players.

- ISU: Acts for the International Skating Union in an on-going competition investigation by the European Commission concerning its Eligibility Rules. 

Legal Expert before Court of Arbitration for Sport:

- CAS 2013/A/3365 Chelsea v. Juventus (Mutu): Expert on EU law as to whether Chelsea’s demand that Juventus be held jointly and severally liable for damages arising from the misconduct of a player complies with EU and Competition law.

- CAS 2014/A/3776 Gibraltar Football Association v. FIFA: Expert on EU law as to whether FIFA’s decision to refuse membership to the Gibraltar Football Association complies with EU and Competition law.

- CAS 2015/A/4021 La Liga c. FIFA (Qatar 2022): Expert on EU law as to whether FIFA’s decision to schedule the FIFA World Cup 2022 during Winter 2022 complied with EU competition law.  

Cases prior to establishing practice include:

- Case C-201/11 P, UEFA v. Commission: Acted for UEFA in its appeal against the European Commission’s decision adopted pursuant to the EU Audiovisual Directive concerning the United Kingdom’s list of major events to be shown on free-television.

- Case T-391/10, F91 Diddeleng v. Commission, Acted for the Luxembourg Football Federation in a case concerning its regulations on locally trained players.

- FA Premier League v. QC Leisure: Acted for an intervener in proceedings before High Court of London in this seminal case concerning the licensing of exclusive broadcasting rights in football. 

- Case T-380/04, Terezakis v. Commission: Acted for party requesting access to Commission documentation.     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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