The European Union (EU) intends to use sport to implement a range of social, cultural and educational policy objectives. However, the rapid commercialization of European sport threatens to obstruct this goal. Traditionally, the sports sector has developed rules which have attempted to maintain a competitive balance between participants. Given the extent of commercialization in European sport, the maintenance of these rules is considered by many as essential. Increasingly, however, these alleged pro-competitive rules have been regarded as anti-competitive by the EU. Commercialization therefore not only threatens the competitive balance within sport, it also obstructs the EU's desire to use sport to implement other policy objectives. As such, a body of opinion has emerged seeking greater protection for these rules. Key actors have strategically exploited institutional venues in the EU in order to achieve this. By doing so they have contributed to the establishment of a "new approach' for dealing with sporting issues in the EU.