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Case law - Sportspersons

This case concerned a rule according to which a cyclist and his pace maker had to be of the same nationality. The Court held that sport was only subject to Community law when it constitutes an economic activity, whether exercised by professional athletes or amateur athletes. If the sport involves gainful employment, it will fall within the scope of Article 45 TFEU. There is an exception to the general rule of non-discrimination for the matches, which are purely of sporting, rather than of economic interest. (full text)

This case confirmed the judgment in the Walrave case. It stressed that nationals of another Member States may not be excluded from (semi-)professional sports activities only on the basis of their nationality. (full text)

In this case the Court discussed that sports is subject to Union law if it constitutes an economic activity. The transfer rules laid down by sporting associations have to be in conformity with the principle of freedom of movement for workers.
The Court considered that the players’ opportunities for finding employment are affected by the discussed transfer rules. As a result the freedom of movement of players who wish to practise their activity in another Member State is restricted and such an obstacle is prohibited by Article 45 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

This case allowed professional players to move freely to another club in the EU at the end of the term of their contract. (full text)

This case is about the discrimination of a Slovak professional handball player whose exclusion by the German Handball Federation on the basis of nationality violated the non-discrimination clause in Article 38(1) of the EC-Slovakia Association Agreement, although this provision did not set out a principle of free movement of Slovak workers. (full text)

This case concerned a Russian football player who is lawfully employed by a club established in a Member State, whose exclusion on the basis of his nationality from playing in the Spanish football league was held to be a violation of the non-discrimination clause in Article 23(1) of the EC-Russia Partnership Agreement. (full text)

The Court ruled that International Olympic Committee’s rules on doping control fall within the scope of Union competition law. These rules may not go beyond what is necessary to ensure the proper conduct of competitive sport.
Sport is subject to Union law if it constitutes an economic activity. The penal nature of the rules at issue and the magnitude of the penalties applicable if they are breached, are capable of producing adverse effects on competition. (full text)

This case concerned a scheme providing for the payment of compensation for training where a young player, at the end of his training, signs a professional contract with a club other than the one that had trained him. The Court confirms that sport is subject to European Union law in so far as it constitutes an economic activity.
The Court ruled that such a scheme can, in principle, be justified by the objective of encouraging the recruitment and training of young players. However, this scheme must be suitable to ensure the attainment of this objective and may not go beyond what is necessary to attain it. The amount of the compensation is to be determined by taking into account of the costs borne by the clubs in training both future professional players and those who will never play professionally. (full text)

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