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Skaters Lose Appeal Against EU Penalty Ruling

 |  December 16, 2020

The International Skating Union (ISU) on Wednesday, December 16, lost its bid to overturn an EU antitrust order that it stop penalizing speed skaters for taking part in new money-spinning events, as Europe’s second-highest court backed the earlier order, reported Reuters.

Legal experts in sports-related cases said the decision could affect other sports and become as significant as the 1995 court ruling involving Belgian soccer player Jean-Marc Bosman, which paved the way for the free movement of players in the EU.

“The judgement is like opening the Berlin Wall for athletes,” said Mark Orth of MEOlaw.

“It puts the long established discretionary actions of sports federations towards their athletes into very tight straits, which opens freedom for athletes.”

The case could, for example, make it easier for unofficial and breakaway events and competitions to be set up without the approval of a sport’s governing body.

The European Commission in its 2017 ruling stated the sport’s governing body had imposed “disproportionately punitive” sanctions on skaters, preventing the emergence of rival events in violation of EU antitrust rules.

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