[Advanced professional training] EU competition law and transnational sports governance

24 - 25 October 2023
  • Starts at: 12:30h
  • Fee: €1150
  • Venue: T.M.C. Asser Instituut
  • Address: R.J. Schimmelpennincklaan 20-22
    2517 JN The Hague
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This advanced professional training is run by two leading academics in the field of competition law and sportBen Van Rompuy and Antoine DuvalThehave both published extensively in the area and have acted as legal advisors in the complaint submitted to the European Commission (EC) by two Dutch speed-skaters, Mark Tuitert and Niels Kerstholt, against the International Skating Union (ISU), leading to the first negative decision rendered by the EC against an international sports governing body (SGB).  

The training consists of: 

  • An in-depth introduction to the specific application of EU competition law to transnational sports governance

  • Specific sessions on the different (national, European and transnational) processes (both judicial and administrative) through which EU competition law claims can be raised against international SGBs

  • A concrete case study during which the group will be divided into teams representing different sides of a competition law claim involving an SGB

  • A round-table with  leading experts in EU competition law and sports for an interactive discussion on future developments in this area

Why this professional training? 
Transnational sports governance is not neutral, its exercise comes with considerable economic effects and consequences, which can be controversial.  In the European contextSGBs are in general acting as monopolist (or in duopoly as in Basketball) combining governance responsibilities with economic opportunities derived from the intensive commercialisation of their sporting competitions.  

In recent years we have witnessed an uptick of challenges on the basis of EU competition law against the governance decisions of international SGBs. In 2017, the European Commission for the first time adopted a decision finding a sporting rule (the ISU’s Eligibility Rules prohibiting skaters from participating in third-party events) in violation of EU competition law. Since then, we have seen a string of decisions by national competition authorities and high-profile private actions being launched against, for instance, UEFA and FIFA by the European Super League Company, football club Royal Antwerp F.C. or football agents. In short, EU competition law has become the main legal avenue through which regulations and decisions of international SGBs are being contested– both from outside the Olympic family and within. It is therefore crucial that sports stakeholders become proficient in the language of EU competition law, in understanding the specificities of itapplication to transnational sports governance, and in grasping the intricacies of the legal processes that can be used to do so. 

Is this training for you? 
This training is primarily aimed at professionals involved in the field of sports governance, such as legal counsels of SGBs, practicing lawyers active in the sports sector, public servants involved in the enforcement of competition law in the sporting context, and representatives of athletes, clubs and other sports stakeholders.  The advanced training will be both interactive, focusing on open exchanges between experts and participants, and participative, with the preparation of a case study in smaller groups.  

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Antoine Duval (Coordinator)

undefinedAntoine is Senior Researcher at the Asser Institute and, together with Ben Van Rompuy, was involved in the landmark complaint against the International Skating Union by the two Dutch speed skaters. His PhD examined the legal interaction between the Lex Sportiva (the private regulations governing international sports) and EU Law. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of the ASSER International Sports Law Blog, founder and editor of the Yearbook of International Sports Arbitration, and a member of the editorial board of the International Sports Law Journal and International Sports Law book Series of Asser Press.

Ben Van Rompuyundefined
Ben Van Rompuy is Assistant Professor of EU Competition Law at the Europa Institute of Leiden Law School. He is specialised in the application of European (competition) law in the media and sports sectors. He has published widely in these areas and regularly acts as an advisor and expert witness for media companies, sports associations, athletes, and public authorities.

He is managing editor of the European Competition and Regulatory Law Review (CoRe), editor-in-chief of the Asser International Sports Law book series, and (founding) editorial board member of Voetbal- en Sportjuridische Zaken (Boom) and the International Sports Law Journal. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of the American Antitrust Institute.

Mark E. Orthundefined
Mark-E. Orth is a lawyer at his law firm MEO-Law in Munich focused on European antitrust law, with a strong proficiency in US antitrust law and Swiss antitrust law. His clients include international sports federations, Bundesliga football clubs and individual athletes as well as trade unions, sporting goods manufacturers and television companies. Mark also regularly works for political decision-makers if antitrust issues have to be clarified before the adoption of regulations relating to sports law.

Stephen Weatherillundefined
Stephen Weatherill was the Jacques Delors Professor of European Law from January 1998 until September 2021, since when he holds that title Emeritus. He also served as Deputy Director for European Law in the Institute of European and Comparative Law, and was a Fellow of Somerville College. His research interests embrace the field of European Law in its widest sense and has written several books in the field such as Principles and Practice in EU Sports Law (Oxford University Press, 2017), EU Consumer Law and Policy (Edward Elgar, 3rd edition, 2013). He has published on sport and the law including the ruling in Bosman and its long-term effects and the impact of EU law on the proposed European SuperLeague.

An Vermeerschundefined
An is an arbitrator at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. In the past, she has advised the Flemish minister for sport on various topics, in particular in relation to governance, ethics, EU sports policy and anti-doping. She teaches sports law at Ghent University and European law at Ghent University College and is a visiting professor of sports law in the Department of Criminology, Criminal Law and Social Law at Ghent University.


Day 1 - Tuesday, 24 October

12:30 – 13:00 Registration

13:00 – 13:30 Welcome and introductionAntoine Duval & Ben Van Rompuy

13:30 – 15:00 How EU competition law applies to transnational sports governance: Key doctrines and cases  - Antoine Duval & Ben Van Rompuy

15:00 – 15:30 Coffee Break

15:30 – 16:30 Bringing a competition law case against SGBs before the European Commission: Lessons from the ISU case  - Ben Van Rompuy & Antoine Duval

16:30 – 17:30 Bringing a competition law case against SGBs in national courts: The German experience -  Mark E. Orth

17:30 – 18:00 Bringing a competition law case against SGBs before the CAS: Opportunities and challenges -  Antoine Duval

19:00 Opening dinner

Day 2 - Wednesday, 25 October

9:00 – 12:00 Case study on FIFA’s Football Agent Regulations and EU competition law - Antoine Duval, Ben Van Rompuy, Mark E. Orth

12:00 – 13:00 Lunch

13:00 – 15:00 Case study on FIFA’s Football Agent Regulations and EU competition law - Antoine Duval, Ben Van Rompuy, Mark E. Orth, An Vermeersch and Stephen Weatherill

15:00 – 15:30 Coffee Break

15:30 – 17:00 Closing discussion on the future of EU competition law and transnational sports governance - Antoine Duval, Ben Van Rompuy, Mark E. Orth, An Vermeersch, and Stephen Weatherill