Yesterday, the European Commission stunned the
European Sports Law world when it announced unexpectedly that it had signed a “partnership agreement” with UEFA named (creatively): ‘The Arrangement
for Cooperation between the European Commission and the Union of European
Football Associations (UEFA)’. The press release indicates that this agreement is to “commit
the two institutions to working together regularly in a tangible and
constructive way on matters of shared interest”. The agreement was negotiated (as
far as we know) secretly with UEFA. Despite recent meetings between EU Commissioner for sport Vassiliou
and UEFA President Platini, the eventuality of such an outcome was never evoked.
It is very unlikely that third-interested-parties (FIFPro, ECA, Supporters
Direct etc.) were consulted in the process of drafting this Arrangement. This
surprising move by an outgoing Commission will be analysed in a three-ponged
approach. First, we will discuss the substance of the Arrangement (I).
Thereafter, we will consider its potential legal value under EU law (II).
Finally, and maybe more importantly, we will confront the political relevance
of the agreement (III). More...
This is the second part of a blog series on
the Real Madrid State aid case. In
the previous blog on this case, an outline of all the relevant facts was provided
and I analysed the first criterion of Article 107(1) TFEU, namely the criterion
that an advantage must be conferred upon the recipient for the measure to be
considered State aid. Having determined that Real Madrid has indeed benefited
from the land transactions, the alleged aid measure has to be scrutinized under
the other criteria of Article 107(1): the measure must be granted by a Member State
or through State resources; the aid granted must be selective; and it must
distorts or threatens to distort competition. In continuation, this blog will
also analyze whether the alleged aid measure could be justified and declared
compatible with EU law under Article 107(3) TFEU.More...
This is the
first part of a blog series involving the Real
Madrid State aid case.
Apart from being
favoured by many of
Spain’s most important politicians, there have always been suspicions
surrounding the world’s richest football club regarding possible financial aid by the Madrid City Council. Indeed, in
the late 90’s a terrain qualification change by the Madrid City Council proved to
be tremendously favourable to the king’s club. The change allowed Real Madrid
to sell its old training grounds for a huge sum. Though the exact price for the
grounds remains unknown, Real Madrid was suddenly capable of buying players
like Figo and Zidane for record fees. However, the European Commission, even
though agreeing that an advantage was conferred to the club, simply stated that the new
qualification of the terrain in question does not appear to involve any
transfer of resources by the State and could therefore not be regarded as State
aid within the meaning of article 107 TFEU.
between the club and the Council have been a regularity for the last 25
years. A more recent example concerns an
agreement signed on 29 July 2011 (Convenio29-07-2011.pdf (8MB).
After a decade of financial misery,
it appears that Valencia CF’s problems are finally over. The foreign takeover by
Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim will be concluded in the upcoming weeks, and
the construction on the new stadium will resume after five years on hold due to
a lack of money. On 3 June Bankia, the Spanish bank that “saved” Valencia CF in
2009 by providing a loan of €81 million, gave the green light for the takeover. However, appearances can be
Yesterday, the press revealed
that the European Commission decided to reject the complaint filed by
Jean-Louis Dupont, the former lawyer of Bosman, on behalf of a player agent
Striani, against the UEFA Financial Fair Play (FFP) Regulations. The rejection
as such is not a surprise. The Commission had repeatedly expressed support of
the principles underlying the UEFA FFP. While these statements
were drafted vaguely and with enough heavy caveats to protect the Commission
from prejudicing a proper legal assessment, the withdrawal of its support would
have been politically embarrassing.
Contrary to what is now widely assumed, this decision
does not entail that UEFA FFP regulations are compatible with EU Competition
Law. UEFA is clearly the big victor, but the legal reality is more complicated
as it looks. More...