What is the "black-out" rule in football and is it lawful?
Article 48 of the UEFA Statutes, otherwise known as the “black-out rule”, exists to protect football fans and players from the effect of competing with live coverage of football games. The rule has been subject of much debate 1 since it was introduced, and it has been brought into focus again by over-the-top streaming service Eleven Sports (Eleven).
So what exactly does the regulation state and why is it in place? And does the rule still have a place in the modern game, or is the rule vulnerable to a challenge under competition law? This article examines:
The legal basis of the rule, and the reasons for its introduction;
Eleven’s arguments against the rule;
Previous legal challenges and reviews of the rule; and
The likely outcome of a future competition law challenge of the rule.
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- Tags: Broadcasting | Competition Law | English Premier League (EPL) | Europe | European Court of Justice (ECJ) | Football | Football League (EFL) | The FA | UEFA | UEFA Regulations governing the implementation of Article 48 | UEFA Statutes | UK
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About the Author
Alex is a Partner in the Commercial, Sports and IP Team at Fladgate LLP, specialising in the sports, technology and media sectors.
Thomas is an associate currently sitting in the CSI Corporate department.
Thomas graduated from the University of Sheffield with a degree in English and a master’s degree in Law before going on to complete his LPC at the University of Law.