The editors of this book are based at the German Sport University in Cologne, whilst the contributors are drawn from sports federations, academic institutions and government departments from across Europe. The ‘two players’ are obviously the EU and sport. The ‘one goal’, as stated on page 8 is ‘to preserve the diversity of sports in Europe’. The insertion of a question mark after the title rightly indicates caution. An obvious irony with the goal of preserving the diversity of European sport is that it appears to require the intervention of sporting federations and the EU both of whom exercise monopolistic and supranational control over their members. Whilst this model may protect the conception of diversity often described as a ‘European model of sport’, it may well stifle another. What of a model which allows for a diversification of organisation through the emergence of new market entrants, a diversification of talent through the genuine free movement of labour and a diversification of viewing choice for fans through the adoption of less restrictive broadcasting contracts? This is the alternative vision that commercial interests have asked the EU to promote. In this connection, this text makes two assumptions that may well undermine the diversity claim. First, that a ‘diversified’ European model of sport actually exists and second, that the EU is a monolithic entity committed and able to preserve it. At best, what both parties are actually seeking is a clarification of the legal environment in which sport operates. The level of clarification (sporting autonomy) will always be subject to debate, but the goal allows sport to remodel their constitutions with greater legal certainty and it frees the EU from having to make time consuming and politically contentious judgements about issues of which it knows little.


Part one of the book introduces the reader to the EU. It begins by explaining the concept of Europe. On first appearance this is a very welcome addition as the socio-political and cultural context of sports regulation in the EU is frequently ignored by academics, many of whom would deny that this has any relevance to what is essentially a legal relationship between the two parties. I would disagree by supporting the authors’ attempt to explain this context. However, the book’s description of a Europe B.C. stretches this point too far. The far more illuminating section detailing the post war development, goals and institutional and legal structure of the modern EU was sufficient to communicate to the reader the EU’s predisposition for the promulgation and enforcement of rules, a characteristic to have significant consequences for sport.

Part two of the book describes the European wide structure of sport and examines the sports policy of the Council of Europe and the EU. It also provides a comprehensive guide to sport for people with disabilities. The bulk of part two discusses the influence of the EU in sporting matters and it is this section which provides the most useful analysis. The authors chose to distinguish between direct and indirect EU involvement in sport. Direct EU sports policy interventions refer to actions specifically targeted at sport. The EU’s difficulty with these interventions lies in their constitutional fragility given the lack of an EU competence in the field of sports policy. The chapter traces the origins of direct EU sports policy to the 1985 Adonnino Report which was influential in launching an instrumental sports policy based largely on symbolism and ad hoc sponsorship initiatives. The chapter then describes how over a period of over a decade sports policy began to embed itself both politically and institutionally (although not legally) within the EU. However, the authors did not feel the need to fully reflect on the reasons for this. This left the important discussion on the constitutional status of sport in the EU rather disconnected from wider political and legal themes. Within this discussion, the book highlighted the influential Amsterdam Declaration (1997) and the Nice Declaration (2000). In addition, the brief discussion of the draft provisions of the Constitutional Treaty which for the first time defines sport as a competence of the Union (not yet finalised) was also welcome although largely unfulfilling given its potential significance. The section on direct sports policy rounded off with an analysis of the EU’s anti-doping policy. 3

An analysis of indirect EU sports policy follows on from the above. Indirect sports policy refers to the application of general single market laws to the sports sector. The book highlights free movement and competition law as the best examples of general, non-targeted intervention. Such laws were not devised with sport in mind but have increasingly become applied to sport as a consequence of the growth of EU activities and the growing commercial significance of the sector. The Bosman litigation and the consequences for nationality restrictions and transfer regimes in European sport receive particular attention as does the relationship between sports broadcasting contracts and competition law.


In an illuminating passage the authors discuss the wider socio-economic impact of Bosman and other indirect EU interventions on European sport, particularly football. The book suggests that whilst labour market liberalisation may be having a negative impact on the development of young players, this does not seem to be causing a diminution of club identity in the minds of the fans. Furthermore, the authors reject the view that liberalised player movement is weakening national teams. Whilst rejecting a simple cause and effect analysis, the authors did however suggest that Bosman contributed to higher player wages and increased pressure being placed on club finances, particularly given the remodelling of the transfer system. Consequently, the authors suggest that the power balance between clubs and players has broadly shifted in favour of players although no subsequent analysis was attempted on the impact of this on a future collective bargaining agreement which is currently being promoted by the EU. Such financial pressures may, the authors suggest, lead some clubs to explore the possibilities of seeking greater financial rewards through the establishment of new pan-European competitions outside the jurisdiction of UEFA. The assumption here is that the EU’s indirect interventions in sport may in fact open up the sports sector to more commercial opportunities, when in fact the book implies elsewhere that the EU is committed to the preservation of the ‘European model of sport’. Nevertheless, the book makes a coherent case as to why observers should interpret the EU’s indirect interventions in sport sympathetically. The authors seek to dispel the image of an overzealous EU insensitively applying its legal framework to sport by pointing out that regardless of the specific market conditions under which sport operates, the general legal framework of the single market applies to all economic sectors. Furthermore, the book correctly points out that the EU’s judicial bodies have indeed been willing to recognise the specificity of sport in their jurisprudence with the flexibility of Article 81(3) (competition law) allowing them to do this. The book also explains that most sport in Europe is carried out on an amateur and/or non-economic basis and as such falls outside the scope of Community law.


Two brief notes on the concept of direct and indirect sports policy are perhaps relevant. The first concerns sequencing. Whilst the authors chose to examine direct sports policy first, the bulk of this involvement was a response to the indirect activities of the EU. Having chosen to make such a distinction I question whether the sequencing of the analysis serves the authors’ purpose. The second issue concerns the labels themselves. Whilst on balance they usefully describe the development of an EU sports policy, I would caution against placing too much distance between direct and indirect sports policy. EU sports policy is generally regulatory as opposed to re-distributional in nature and this state of affairs is unlikely to change dramatically following the ratification of the new Constitutional Treaty. The impact of direct sports policy on indirect sports policy is becoming more evident (see for instance the growing sports related case law of the Commission and even the European Court). One may even be so bold as to identify the emergence of jurisprudential field of sports law in the EU in which generic Single Market legal principles are applied in such a way as to recognise the specificity of sport in Europe. I wonder whether the authors’ policy juxtaposition is therefore losing its relevance?


Part three outlines sports structures in the fifteen original member states of the EU and three new arrivals, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia. Condensing such a volume of information into this relatively short space is challenging and the authors should be commended for their ability to provide such a comprehensive description of these complex structures even given lack of completeness with EU25. In essence, part three seeks to describe the varying constitutional, legal and administrative structures of European sport and highlight the difference between governmental and non-governmental structures. In this connection, I found this information to be a great value. The opening chapter to part three neatly contextualises the subsequent flow of information – a reason barely excusing the lack of a conclusion to part three or indeed to the book as a whole. However, the main contribution of part three lies in its reference value. Whilst effort was made to provide a uniform presentation of the country profiles, some descriptions were clearly more comprehensive than others. This begs the question whether web based reference material may prove a more fruitful avenue for students, academics and sports administrators given the fluidity of developments in this area. In the absence of updated editions, this book will date rapidly. Nevertheless, I for one welcome the consolidated form.

In sum, the book is a welcome addition to nascent literature on this subject. The text makes a modest analytical contribution to this field yet I detect that this was not its primary function. Rather, its main value is as an important reference source for students, academics and sports administrators who wish to better understand not only the EU’s influence on sport but also the main sports structures within the EU and throughout its member states. This book clearly achieves this mission and even acknowledging the inherent weaknesses in many edited reference books, I recommend it to anyone within an interest in this field. 8
Richard Parrish
Edge Hill College