All quiet in the western (European football) front : regulation of football in the European continent

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Series Details No 26, 2018
Publication Date 01/01/2018
ISSN 1028-3625
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Regulation of football in Europe is, absent some piecemeal interventions (like sharing of TV rights) largely non-existent. This is the case, because the de facto regulator (UEFA, Union Européenne of Football Associations) has no mandate to comprehensively address on its own competitive balance, the focal point of football, and, in more general terms, sports regulation. Various aspects of competitive balance are part and parcel of antitrust law.

European Union (EU) law thus, comes into the frame, since this is the body of law regulating antitrust in the European continent. The European Union, nevertheless, has no mandate to regulate football comprehensively, even though it has the power to issue (non-sports specific) law (including competition law), which affects football, and UEFA must observe it. As a result, UEFA wants to but cannot regulate the hard core of sports regulation, whereas the European Union as is, cannot do much, and it is at best doubtful that it wants to anyway. Under the circumstances, because of the legislative conundrum, the “regulatory stalemate” we observe is probably the equilibrium point.

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