Sports Law Lecture "State Aid in Football: The Year of the European Commission"Published 1 December 2016
Researcher in International and European Sports Law and state aid expert at the Asser Institute, Oskar van Maren, delivered on 24 November a Sports Law Lecture with as title “State Aid in Football: The Year of the European Commission". His lecture touched upon the European Commission decisions regarding State aid to seven Spanish (Real Madrid on two occasions) and five Dutch professional football clubs, which had been released on 4 July 2016. These decisions marked the end of the formal investigations that were opened in 2013, and constitute, as demonstrated in the lecture, a remarkable new chapter to the interaction between EU law and football.
The presentation first addressed the two questions “What is State aid” and “Why do we have rules on State aid”. After a quick introduction into the procedural rules in State aid and the relation between State aid and professional sport, Oskar analysed the renowned PSV and Real Madrid decisions. Subsequently, the particularities of the decisions concerning the smaller Dutch clubs FC Den Bosch, MVV, NEC and Willem II were highlighted. The case of Valencia exemplified the possible far-reaching implications of the enforcement of State aid rules, with a club on the verge of bankruptcy. The final topic of the lecture regarded the preferential tax treatment of certain Spanish clubs.
With the conclusion, Oskar also offered a first take on the potential impact of these decisions for the future of the relationship between professional football clubs and (especially local) public authorities looking to support them.