Richard Parrish
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Sport and the European Court of Justice

This chapter outlines the legal context of sports relationship with the European Union (EU). The European Court of Justice (ECJ) rulings for Bruno Walrave, Gaetano Donà, George Heylens, Bosman, Christelle Deliège and Jyri Lehtonen receive particular attention. The ECJ has clearly established that sport is subject to EU law in so far as it constitutes an economic activity within the meaning of Article 2 of the Treaty. Article 39 covers the activities of private sports associations. The European Commission's attitude towards discriminatory practises in sport was somewhat contradictory. Article 39 covers any rules aimed at regulating employment in a collective manner. Sport is clearly subject to EU law and Article 39 is horizontally directly effective. Walrave and Donà served to widen the scope of the Treaty and afford greater protection to workers. Sport was transferred through a legal/regulatory venue involving a close relationship between the ECJ and the Commission.

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