Case Highlights

ISU case – Sports Governance case

A woman and man speed skating on a cold winter day.

Benoit Keane represented the International Skating Union (ISU) in the landmark competition investigation brought by the European Commission concerning the ISU’s Eligibility Rules which prevent Skaters from participating in unauthorised events. The EC found the rules to infringe EU competition law in particular due to the potential lifetime sanction for any breach of the rules and the lack of a clear authorisation system. Crucially, however, the EC acknowledged that the ISU was entitled to operate an authorisation system provided it pursued legitimate objectives such as integrity, health and safety and the good functioning of the international calendar. This finding is essential to the governance of sport and shows that competition law does not require a regulatory race-to-the-bottom. The new authorisation system put in place by the ISU for the vetting of independent events is regarded as an important precedent.