The Application of EU Competition Law to Sport

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The thesis has looked at the application of competition law of the European Union to sport. The main objective of the thesis is to understand whether the European institutions have adopted a sport-specific approach when applying competition law, and to identify problems connected to it.
Sport presents a number of characteristics that differentiates it from any other industry. It is an area where private and public interests arise and demand protection. These range from private economic interests, to the protection of cultural aspects, health and well-being, and employment.
The European Union has moved from an approach according to which sporting rules were not falling under EU law, to one where any sporting rule is capable of having economic effects and could therefore be assessed. In parallel, Sport Governing Bodies have stopped rejecting the intrusion of EU institutions in sport, and have accepted that the role of the authorities could be channelled to guarantee an area of autonomy. The thesis provides an original contribution to the body of knowledge in assessing the intensity of the economic analysis adopted by the EU institutions when examining conduct of Sports Governing Bodies. This aspect is particularly connected to the specific characteristics of sport, and of the sporting market.
The research suggests to adopt a system of governance that is more collaborative and inclusive, and that is capable of representing the needs and protect the interest of all the industry stakeholders. This would require a greater involvement of the stakeholders in the rule setting and enforcement procedure, in order to channel the expertise of Governing Bodies and restrict the tendency to abuse of their regulatory powers.
Date of Award28 Jun 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Edge Hill University
SupervisorRICHARD PARRISH (Director of Studies) & FRANCO RIZZUTO (Supervisor)

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