Editor’s note: Marine Montejo
is a graduate from the College of Europe in Bruges and is currently an Intern
at the ASSER International Sports Law Centre.
In its decisions regarding the joint selling of football media rights (UEFA, Bundesliga, FA Premier
league), the European Commission insisted that premium media
rights must be sold through a non-discriminatory and transparent tender
procedure, in several packages and for a limited period of time in order to
reduce foreclosure effects in the downstream market. These remedies ensure that
broadcasters are able to compete for rights that carry high audiences and, for
pay TV, a stable number of subscriptions. In line with these precedents, national
competition authorities have tried to ensure compliance with remedy packages.
The tipping point here appears to be the premium qualification of sport rights
on the upstream market of commercialization of sport TV rights.
This begs the question: which sport TV rights must be
considered premium? More...
There has been a lot
of Commission interest in potential state aid to professional football
clubs in various Member States. The huge
sums of money involved are arguably an important factor in this interest and
conversely, is perhaps the reason why state aid in rugby union is not such a
concern. But whilst the sums of money
may pale into comparison to those of professional football, the implications
for the sport are potentially no less serious.
At the end of the
2012/2013 season, Biarritz Olympique (Biarritz) were relegated from the elite
of French Rugby Union, the Top 14 to the Pro D2. By the skin of their teeth, and as a result
of an injection of cash from the local
council (which amounted
to 400,000€), they were spared administrative relegation to the amateur league
below, the Fédérale 1, which would have occurred as a result of the financial
state of the club.More...
Pursuant to Kelsen’s famous pyramid, the authority of norms may be
ranked according to their sources: Constitution is above the Law, which is in
turn superior to the Regulations, which themselves stand higher to the
Collective Agreement etc…Under French labour law, this ranking can however be
challenged by a “principle of favourable treatment” which allows a norm from a
lower rank to validly derogate from a superior norm, if (and only if) this
derogation benefits to the workers.
April 2014, the Cour de Cassation (the French Highest Civil Court) considered that
these principles apply in all fields of labour law, regardless of the
specificity of sport. In this case, Mr. Orene Ai’i, a professional
rugby player, had signed on 13 July 2007
an employment contract with the Rugby Club Toulonnais (RCT) for two sport
seasons with effect on 1 July 2007. More...