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Study on sports organisers' rights in the EU now available


The study was launched in January 2013 and was financed by the Preparatory Action 'European Partnership on Sports' 2012.  It was carried out by a consortium composed of TMC ASSER Instituut and IVIR (University of Amsterdam).

Main objectives:
  • To map the legal framework applicable to the origin and ownership of rights to sport events (sports organisers' rights) in the 28 EU Member States;
  • To analyse the nature and scope of sports organisers' rights with regard to licensing practices in the field of the media, taking into account relevant EU law provisions;
  • To examine the possibility of establishing licensing practices beyond the media field, notably in the area of gambling and betting;
  • To provide recommendations on the opportunity of EU action to address any problem that may be identified in the abovementioned areas of analysis.
Main findings:
  • In the great majority of EU countires the rights of sports organisers are found in the general laws of property and contracts. The study does not point out an urgent need for a harmonising initiative in this respect.
  • The laws on copyright and neighbouring rights that provide for legal protection of the audiovisual recordings and broadcasts of sports events are almost completely harmonised in the EU.
  • While the calls of sports organisations for effective enforcement remedies are comparable to those of the traditional content industries, the case for expedient remedies is arguably stronger for sport, given the highly perishable media value of many sports events, which is usually exhausted immediately with the live coverage of the event.
  • It is recommended to put in place a centrally driven distribution system that allocates the revenue derived from (commercial) betting or other gambling services to sport on the basis of transparent criteria (i.e. proportions and beneficiaries prescribed by legislation).
  • A right to consent to bets could be considered as one of the available mechanisms to protect the integrity of sport from betting-related match fixing on condition that extensive and resource-intensive institutional and operational requirements necessary for its successful implementation can be satisfied. Other mechanisms may be explored by Member States to safeguard the integrity of sport competitions in relation to betting.

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