European Sports Law
“Sources call him the best sports lawyer in competition law” Who’s Who Legal 2017
European law is now an essential consideration in the regulation of sport and commercialisation of sports media rights.
Sports regulations are subject to EU competition and internal market law when they concern the exercise of an economic activity. That said, EU law does not lead to a race-to-the-bottom. Sports regulations which are necessary and proportionate to the achievement of a legitimate objective are permitted under EU law (e.g. anti-doping, health and safety rules). However, sports regulations which unjustifiably restrict competition or free movement risk being annulled. For this reason, sports organisations need to have in mind EU legal principles when designing or reviewing sports regulations.
Sports rights agreements, in particular relating to ticketing, sponsorship and media rights, must also comply with competition law. The collective sale of sports media rights must be conducted in a manner that does not restrict competition. While it is particularly important for popular sports to take on board competition law principles when engaging in commercial agreements, it is not unknown for competition regulators to also intervene on rights deals involving relatively smaller sports. In addition to competition law concerns, EU audiovisual law regulates the exploitation of sports media rights, in particular with respect to the listing of major sports events and news access rights.
Benoît Keane is “renowned for his expertise on competition law in the sports sector”. He has acted in numerous cases relating to the application of EU law to sport. He has successfully defended sports regulations and commercial agreements from competition complaints before the European Commission. He has also acted in cases before the national courts and EU Courts as well as before the Court of Arbitration for Sport. He applies this experience to provide sports organisations with practical advice when designing sports rules, entering into commercial contracts or establishing new sports events.
- Sports Commercial Activities
- Sports Regulatory Activities
- Regulation of players and clubs
- Authorisation of independent organisers
- Tournament/league formats
- Collective sale of sports media rights
- Sports rights agreements and ticketing