Engaging with the EU in Order to Minimise Its Impact: Sport and the Negotiation of the Treaty of Lisbon

  • Stephen Weatherill
Part of the ASSER International Sports Law Series book series (ASSER)


The European Union (EU) operates according to the principle of conferral found in Article 5 of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU). This means that it may act only in areas where its treaties so authorise. Until the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty on 1 December 2009 sport was not even mentioned in the Treaty. Nevertheless first the Court of Justice and subsequently the Commission have insisted that in so far as sport constitutes an economic activity it falls within the scope of the Treaty. Sport bodies have long resented the intervention of EU institutions, for it constitutes a curtailment of the cherished autonomy of sport. That autonomy is lost in so far as the EU treaties apply, and the consequence is the creation of two ‘separate territories’: a territory for sporting autonomy and a territory for legal intervention. The contest is over the extent to which the territory for sporting autonomy should be invaded by legal intervention.


European Union Sport Organisation International Olympic Committee Lisbon Treaty European Union Institution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Arnaut JL (2006) The Independent European Sport Review,
  2. Beach D (2005) The dynamics of European integration: Why and when EU institutions matter. Basingstoke: Macmillan Publishers.Google Scholar
  3. Brand A and Niemann A (2007) Europeanisation in the societal/transnational realm: what European integration studies can get out of analysing football, Journal of Contemporary European Research 3(3):182–201.Google Scholar
  4. Chappelet JL (2010) Autonomy of sport in Europe, Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing.Google Scholar
  5. Coen D (2007) Special issue: Empirical and theoretical studies in EU lobbying. Journal of European Public Policy 14(3):333–488Google Scholar
  6. Dougan M (2008) The Treaty of Lisbon 2007: Winning minds, not hearts. Common Market Law Review 45(3):617–703.Google Scholar
  7. European Commission (2007A) White Paper on Sport, COM (2007) 391 final, 11 July 2007.Google Scholar
  8. European Commission (2007B) Staff Working Document annexed to the White Paper on Sport, COM (2007) 391, 11 July 2007.Google Scholar
  9. García B (2007A) From regulation to governance and representation: Agenda-Setting and the EU’s involvement in sport. Entertainment and Sports Law Journal 5(1):9
  10. García B (2007B) UEFA and the European Union: From confrontation to co-operation. Journal of Contemporary European Research 3(3):202–223Google Scholar
  11. Greenwood J (2007) Interest representation in the European Union, 2nd edition. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacmillanGoogle Scholar
  12. Hill J (2009) The European Commission’s White Paper on Sport: a step backwards for specificity? International Journal of Sport Policy 1(3):253–66Google Scholar
  13. Kingdon JW (1995) Agendas, alternatives and public policies, 2nd edition, New York: Harper Collins Publishers.Google Scholar
  14. Mazey S and Richardson J (2006) interest groups and EU policy-making: organizational logic and venue shopping, in Richardson J, ed, European Union: power and policymaking, London: Routledge, 247–265.Google Scholar
  15. Meier H. (2009) Emergence, dynamics and impact of European sport policy – perspectives from political science, in Gardiner S, Parrish R and Siekmann RCR, eds, EU, pport, law and policy. The Hague: T M C Asser Press, 7–34.Google Scholar
  16. Miège C (2001) Le sport dans l’Union Européenne: Quelle exception sportive?’, Esprit 12 (280):179–89.Google Scholar
  17. Miettinen S (2006) ‘The Independent European Sport Review: a critical overview’, International Sports Law Journal 2006(3–4):57–62.Google Scholar
  18. Niemann A and Mak J (2010) (How) do norms guide Presidency behaviour in EU negotiations? Journal of European Public Policy 17(5):727–742Google Scholar
  19. Olympic and Sports Movement (2010) Common Position on the implementation of the new Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union on sport, IOC position paper, available at
  20. Parrish R (2003A) Sports law and policy in the European Union, Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Parrish R (2003B) The birth of European Union sports law, entertainment law 2(2): 20–39.Google Scholar
  22. Parrish R and Miettinen. (2007) The sporting exception in European Union law. The Hague: T M C Asser Press.Google Scholar
  23. Parrish R and Miettinen S (2009) Sports broadcasting in community law. In Blackshaw I, Cornelius S and Siekmann RCR, eds, TV rights and sport, The Hague: T M C Asser Press, pp. 9–34Google Scholar
  24. UEFA (2007) Sport should not be ruled by judges: European basketball, football, handball and volleyball are united in defending the European sports model, Media Release 70, 9 May 2007, available at
  25. Van den Bogaert S and Vermeersch A (2006) Sport and the European Treaty: A tale of uneasy bedfellows, European Law Review 31(6):821–40Google Scholar
  26. Wathelet M (2006) L’arrêt Meca-Medina et Majcen: plus qu’un coup dans l’eau. Revue de Jurisprudence de Liége, Mons et Bruxelles 41:1799–1809.Google Scholar
  27. Weatherill S (2007) On overlapping legal orders: what is the purely sporting rule? In Bogusz B, Cygan A and Szyszczak E, eds, The regulation of Sport in the EU, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp.48–73.Google Scholar
  28. Weatherill S (2010) Fairness, openness and the specific nature of sport: does the Lisbon Treaty change EU sports law? International Sports Law Journal 2010(3–4):1–6.Google Scholar
  29. Zylberstein J (2007) Collision entre idéaux sportifs et continges économiques dans l’arret Meca-Medina, Cahiers de Droit Européen 43(1–2):218–238.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© T.M.C. ASSER PRESS, The Hague, The Netherlands, and the authors 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Somerville CollegeOxfordUK

Personalised recommendations