EU Sports Law: The Effect of the Lisbon Treaty

Stephen Weatherill

in EU Law after Lisbon

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199644322
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738173 | DOI:
EU Sports Law: The Effect of the Lisbon Treaty

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The influence of the Treaty of Lisbon on sport in Europe is both profound and trivial. It is profound in that for the first time sport is subject to explicit reference within the Treaties establishing and governing the European Union. Given the fundamental principle that the EU possesses only the competences conferred upon it by its Member States the novelty achieved by this express attribution in the field of sport counts as immensely constitutionally significant. But for two reasons the Treaty's influence is also trivial. First because the content of the new provisions has been drawn with conspicuous caution, so that the EU's newly acquired powers in fact represent a most modest grant made by the Member States. And second because, notwithstanding the barren text of the pre-Lisbon Treaty, the EU has in fact long exercised a significant influence over the autonomy enjoyed by sports federations operating on its territory. So the Lisbon Treaty reveals a gulf between constitutional principle, where it seems to carry great weight and law and policymaking in practice, on which its effect is likely to be considerably less striking. The purpose of this chapter is to reflect on the development of ‘EU sports law’ during the long period in which an explicit treaty mandate was lacking and to assess the extent to which the Lisbon Treaty will change the picture. Such changes are not likely to be dramatic, but nonetheless changes there will be, both at the level of detail and in the direction of securing a deeper legitimacy for EU intervention in the field of sport.

Keywords: EU sports law; developments of EU policy; Lisbon Treaty; sport

Chapter.  9125 words. 

Subjects: EU Law

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