Advocacy Coalitions in European Sports Policy

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


This paper explores the behaviour of two rival advocacy coalitions operating within the European Union’s sports policy subsystem. The football business coalition is composed of a range of economic interests whose deep core beliefs reflect an essentially free market ethos. Sport, it is claimed, is an economic activity, the commercial potential of which is eroded by restrictive practices employed by the sports governing bodies. Consequently, their policy core beliefs reflect a desire for EU law to protect economic stakeholders from labour market and product market restrictions imposed by the governing bodies. Within the rival sporting autonomy coalition operate FIFA and UEFA, the global and European governing bodies of sport. These actors stress the need for decision making autonomy so that the specificities of sport can be promoted free from legal challenge. Each coalition possesses the resources to impose costs upon one another and with litigation delivering uneven and uncertain results for the coalitions, evidence suggests that a negotiated settlement is favoured by both parties and this is being actively promoted by the European Commission. This paper examines whether the EC Treaty’s provisions on social dialogue can sustain a lasting agreement between the coalitions and foster a new era of co-operative relations within the subsystem.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventPolitical Studies Association Annual Conference: Challenges for Democracy in a Global Era - University of Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 7 Apr 20099 Apr 2009


ConferencePolitical Studies Association Annual Conference: Challenges for Democracy in a Global Era
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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