International Skating Union versus European Commission: Is the European sports model under threat?

  • Rusa AgafonovaEmail author


Regulatory activities of sports governing bodies have been attracting more and more attention of courts and competition authorities. Indeed, the remedial potential of competition law has been steadily growing in recent years and is currently becoming the most viable instrument of protection of commercial freedom of athletes and other stakeholders from abusive policies implemented by national and international sports federations. The recent case of the International Skating Union is very likely to contribute to a considerable liberalisation of the markets for organisation and for commercial exploitation of sports events. However, SGBs, including the powerful IOC, resist this—it seems to be—inevitable process, invoking, inter alia, the importance to safeguard the European sports model. The paper examines the perspectives of this model, and, more particularly, the question of whether it still measures up to the realities of the sports industry. It provides insight into the cases illustrating potential dangers of breakaway leagues. The author of the article comes to the conclusion that the solution of the problem of eligibility rules represents only an intermediate step in the search for a steady balance among all interests involved, and that the European sports model should be ready for further compromises in order to survive as such.


Regulatory rules EU competition law International Skating Union Sports governance European sports model Proportionality Exclusivity clauses 



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Copyright information

© T.M.C. Asser Instituut 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of NeuchâtelNeuchâtelSwitzerland

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