On Thursday, the European Court of Justice ruled against the International Skating Union (ISU), stating that the organization cannot compel skaters to exclusively participate in events it sanctions. This verdict, akin to the court’s recent rulings against UEFA and FIFA, represents a pivotal moment in sports, exposing major organizations for violating EU antitrust laws.
The Luxembourg court, which previously accused UEFA and FIFA of abusing their dominant positions, asserted that the ISU’s rules on prior authorization for skating competitions infringe EU law. The court argued that these regulations aim to limit competition, negatively impacting athletes, consumers, and audiences alike.
While the Switzerland-based ISU holds exclusive recognition from the International Olympic Committee for organizing figure-skating and speed-skating competitions, the court’s decision challenges its authority. The ISU’s charter imposes sanctions and potential ineligibility on athletes participating in non-authorized skating events, creating a contentious dynamic within the realm of international skating.
This ruling not only questions the ISU’s control over prestigious events like those in the Winter Olympic Games and World Championships but also signals a broader trend of legal scrutiny on major sports federations for their anticompetitive practices.
Source: Court House News