Sport and competition law – the year in review 2020/21

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Friday, 11 June 2021 By Benoît Keane, Ben Foster

Even before the announcement of a breakaway league, it had been an important year for competition law with significant updates since last year’s review.[1]  This chapter of the LawInSport yearbook:

  • analyses the case of ISU v European Commission, a dispute that has been ongoing for seven years, the judgment for which is likely to impact sports governing bodies (“SGBs”) throughout Europe.
  • discusses the application of competition law to SGBs’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic (it is difficult to do a review of the past year without referencing it).
  • reviews the Belgian case of Virton concerning the implementation of financial regulations in football.
  • discusses upcoming competition law cases relating to closed leagues that are likely to shape sport in the year ahead, especially in the aftermath of the doomed European Super League project.     

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About the Author

Benoît Keane

Benoît Keane

Benoît Keane specialises in European sports law. Based in Brussels, he acts in cases before the European Commission and European Court of Justice as well as in cases before national courts where there is an EU law dimension. He has participated in many of the leading European sports law cases of recent years, including the competition law cases relating to financial fair play, third party ownership and sports eligibility rules. He has also appeared as a legal expert on EU law before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Ben Foster

Ben Foster

Associate, Northridge
Ben is a member of Northridge’s litigation team. Ben works with governing bodies, clubs, players and other commercial parties in relation to litigation, arbitration, disciplinary and regulatory proceedings. Ben also has experience in advising competition owners in respect of governance issues.

Highlights of Ben’s work include large scale disputes pursuant to Rule K and the Managers’ Arbitration Tribunal, advising The FA in relation to an independent review of alleged non-recent child sexual abuse in football and concurrent civil claims, and acting for the governing bodies of tennis in relation to an independent review of integrity in the sport.

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