The European Commission opens a formal investigation in International Skating Union’s eligibility rules

Published 7 October 2015

On 5 October, the European Commission announced its decision to open a formal antitrust investigation into the International Skating Union (ISU) rules that permanently ban skaters from competitions such as the Winter Olympics and the ISU World and European Championships if they take part in events not organised or promoted by the ISU. The investigation follows a complaint by two Dutch ice speed skaters, Mark Tuitert and Niels Kerstholt.

The Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, stated that the Commission "will investigate if such rules are being abused to enforce a monopoly over the organisation of sporting events or otherwise restrict competition. Athletes can only compete at the highest level for a limited number of years, so there must be good reasons for preventing them to take part in events."

The case originates from legal advice provided by the Asser International Sports Law Centre. In order to understand the background of the case and the main legal issues at stake, the Centre published a blog post that can be accessed here.