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EU Control of State Aid to Professional Sport: Why Now?

  • Ben Van RompuyEmail author
  • Oskar van Maren
Chapter
Part of the ASSER International Sports Law Series book series (ASSER)

Abstract

In the aftermath of the Bosman judgment, the application of the free movement and antitrust rules to the sports sector rapidly intensified and deepened. Until very recently, however, the application of the EU State aid rules remained an anomaly in the story of ‘European sports law’. This chapter aims to explain why the public financing of sports infrastructure and professional sports clubs only in recent years started to attract State aid scrutiny. Considering the general policy dynamics of European State aid control, it is argued that the late appearance of enforcement efforts is not as remarkable as it may appear. The extension of the reach of State aid control to new sectors or new forms of aid has typically been the result of external constraints on the European Commission’s independent agenda-setting abilities. In the case of sport, it was primarily the case law of the EU courts that triggered the sudden surge in formal investigations and decisional practice.

Keywords

State aid law and policy Sport Professional football clubs Sports infrastructure European commission Enforcement discretion Prioritisation Complaint handling 

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Copyright information

© T.M.C. Asser Press and the authors 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.T.M.C. Asser InstituutThe HagueThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Vrije Universiteit BrusselIxellesBelgium
  3. 3.T.M.C. Asser InstituutThe HagueThe Netherlands

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