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THE BELGIAN COMPETITION AUTHORITY ENGAGES WITH CRUCIAL ISSUES ON SPORTS AND COMPETITION LAW

11.1.2019

In a preliminary assessment it was held that certain rules of the FEI (Federation Equestre International) regarding jumping events are anti-competitive. Firstly, this assessment argues that the FEI approval procedure for organizing horse racing events is opaque, giving the FEI such a discretionary power that the organization of new jumping events can be delayed or prevented. Secondly, it is argued that excessive sanctions for participation in non-accredited events of athletes, horses and officials infringes their commercial liberty and is anti-competitive. Thirdly, also the FEI rule enabling an event organizer to postpone or block the organization of a competing event is challenged. The decision contains interesting statements on regulatory powers of sports governing bodies to pursue goals such as integrity of sports and competitions, athletes’ health and well-being, and public health. After the FEI brought its regulations in line with these preliminary findings, the Investigation and Prosecution Service decided to end its investigation. The full text of the decision is only available in French. See https://www.bma-abc.be/sites/default/files/content/download/files/abc-2018-pk-41-aud_pub.pdf

For any questions on sports or competition law, do not hesitate to contact Pieter Paepe (ppa@astrealaw.be) or your usual contact at the firm. 

THE BELGIAN COMPETITION AUTHORITY ENGAGES WITH CRUCIAL ISSUES ON SPORTS AND COMPETITION LAW

In a preliminary assessment it was held that certain rules of the FEI (Federation Equestre International) regarding jumping events are anti-competitive. Firstly, this assessment argues that the FEI approval procedure for organizing horse racing events is opaque, giving the FEI such a discretionary power that the organization of new jumping events can be delayed or prevented. Secondly, it is argued that excessive sanctions for participation in non-accredited events of athletes, horses and officials infringes their commercial liberty and is anti-competitive. Thirdly, also the FEI rule enabling an event organizer to postpone or block the organization of a competing event is challenged. The decision contains interesting statements on regulatory powers of sports governing bodies to pursue goals such as integrity of sports and competitions, athletes’ health and well-being, and public health. After the FEI brought its regulations in line with these preliminary findings, the Investigation and Prosecution Service decided to end its investigation. The full text of the decision is only available in French. See https://www.bma-abc.be/sites/default/files/content/download/files/abc-2018-pk-41-aud_pub.pdf

For any questions on sports or competition law, do not hesitate to contact Pieter Paepe (ppa@astrealaw.be) or your usual contact at the firm.