European Commission opens investigation into ISU eligibility rules

European Commission opens investigation into ISU eligibility rules

On 5 October, the European Commission launched a formal antitrust investigation into the International Skating Union (ISU) eligibility rules. ISU rules prevent skaters to take part in events not approved by the ISU, under threat of being permanently banned from competitions such as the Winter Olympics and the World and European Championships.
The decision to open an antitrust investigation into ISU rules has been taken following a complaint by two Dutch ice speed skaters, Mark Tuitert and Niels Kerstholt. The two athletes wanted to participate in a new speed skating event in Dubai. However, ISU decided not to recognise this event as it was “possibly being closely connected to betting”, and threatened anyone participating to become ineligible for ISU activities and competitions.
The European Commission will have to decide whether ISU rules violate article 101 and 102 TFEU that prohibit anti-competitive agreements and the abuse of a dominant market position.
The specificity of sport and the autonomy of sporting organisations have been recognised by the EU on several occasions – Margrethe Vestager, EU Commissioner for competition policy, recalled “the role of international sports federations to set the rules of the games and to ensure the proper governance of sport”. She justified the opening of the investigation by the fact that the ISU case “raises specific allegations of breaches of competition law at international level”.
With regard to competition investigations in sport, the European Commission has generally used a case by case approach. However, the ISU case offers the possibility to set up some general criteria that could enhance the legal certainty for the future. It is worth to mention that several similar cases are ongoing with some EU national antitrust authorities such as in Sweden, Italy and Ireland.
Previous jurisprudences from the European Court of Justice stated that sporting rules are applying to EU competition rules when the organisations setting-up the rules or the persons affected by the rules are part of an economic activity. Sporting rules are likely not to breach the anti-trust provisions of the EC Treaty, if their anti-competitive effects are inherent and proportionate to pursue legitimate interest. Contrary to state aid investigations, there are no legal deadlines regarding anti-trust cases.

FURTHER INFORMATION
Press release of the European Commission

Recent Posts

The submission phase for the #BeInclusive Awards is open

The next 2024 #BeInclusive Awards have opened for submission. Each of the three categories will reward a winner with EUR 10 000 and two finalists (ranked 2nd and 3rd) with EUR 2 500 each. The #BeInclusive – Promoting Gender Equality in Sport award will reward projects that empower and involve women and girls in sports, celebrating role […]

Read More
European Parliament Elections

From 6 to 9 June, the citizens of the 27 EU countries voted for their 720 representatives in the European Parliament (MEPs). The results show a significant increase in the number of far-right MEPs (+ 13 seats compared to 2019-2024, in addition to those outside of the set political groups who are expected to join the […]

Read More
European citizens called to vote for the European Parliament

From 6-9 June, 373 million citizens of all 27 EU countries will vote for the 720 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) at the European Parliament elections. Voting began yesterday in the Netherlands, continues today in Ireland and the Czech Republic, tomorrow in Italy and peaks on 9 June with elections in all other Member […]

Read More

Related Posts

June 14, 2024
The submission phase for the #BeInclusive Awards is open

The next 2024 #BeInclusive Awards have opened for submission. Each of the three categories will reward a winner with EUR 10 000 and two finalists (ranked 2nd and 3rd) with EUR 2 500 each. The #BeInclusive – Promoting Gender Equality in Sport award will reward projects that empower and involve women and girls in sports, celebrating role […]

June 14, 2024
European Parliament Elections

From 6 to 9 June, the citizens of the 27 EU countries voted for their 720 representatives in the European Parliament (MEPs). The results show a significant increase in the number of far-right MEPs (+ 13 seats compared to 2019-2024, in addition to those outside of the set political groups who are expected to join the […]

June 7, 2024
European citizens called to vote for the European Parliament

From 6-9 June, 373 million citizens of all 27 EU countries will vote for the 720 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) at the European Parliament elections. Voting began yesterday in the Netherlands, continues today in Ireland and the Czech Republic, tomorrow in Italy and peaks on 9 June with elections in all other Member […]

About us

The EOC EU Office is the House of European Sport, representing the European Olympic Committees (EOC), the IOC and other major sport organisations to the European institutions in Brussels.
CONTACT
crossmenu linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram