And now what? The Future of EU Sports Policy after the Treaty of Lisbon

And now what? The Future of EU Sports Policy after the Treaty of Lisbon

Wednesday  27th October 2010 at 6pm

Lankaster Lecture Theatre (University College London),
Medawar Building,
Malet Place, (off Torrington Place)
London WC1

(For directions click here)

Given by:  Dr Borja García, Lecturer in Sport Management and Policy, Loughborough University


One of the perhaps less known novelties of the Lisbon Treaty is the introduction of an article that, for the first time, equips the European Union (EU) with a direct competence in the area of sport. Articles 6 and 165 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) give the EU competence to ‘carry out actions to support, coordinate or supplement the actions of the Member States’ in the area of sport. This inclusion of sport in the EU Treaties is a long awaited request of what is sometimes known as the “sporting movement” (which largely encompasses the governing bodies of European sport), which has finally come to reality. But now, what is going to happen with EU sports policy? What are the consequences for the application of EU law and for sports governance? Are sports governing bodies any better off with this new article?

The presentation will first assess the potential of the new TFEU to enable the EU to attain the objectives of ‘greater fairness and openness in sporting competitions’ and greater ‘protection of the moral and physical integrity of sports practitioners whilst taking account of the specific nature of sport’, as required in article 165. A legal analysis of Article 165 will discuss the extent to which these new provisions are likely to modify the case law of the European Court of Justice and the position of the Commission on the application of EU law to sport.

Building on the legal assessment, the second part of the presentation will be devoted to analyse the political consequences of Article 165 TFEU. This will feature an analysis of the policy priorities already outlined by the European Commission, who is due to publish a communication in the autumn, and by the European sports ministers, who have met in a formal Council formation for the first time. It will also consider the consequences for sports governance in Europe and the role of EU institutions in the regulation of sport. Finally, the presentation will outline the actions and programmes that are likely to be adopted in the period 2010-2013 to implement the new provisions of the Lisbon Treaty on sport.


  • Parrish, R., Garcia, B., and Miettien, S. (2010) The Treaty of Lisbon and EU Sports Policy, Study for the European Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education.
  • García, B. (2010) ‘The European Union and sport governance’, in. M. Groeneveld, B. Houlihan and F. Ohl (eds.) Social capital and governance in European sport (London: Routledge).
  • García, B. (2009) ‘Sport governance after the white paper: The demise of the European model?’, International Journal of Sport Policy, vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 267-284.
  • Weatherill, S. (2010), ‘Fairness, openness and the specific nature of sport: does the Lisbon Treaty change EU sports law?’, International Sports Law Journal 2010/3-4: 1-6.


Dr. Borja García is Lecturer in Sport Management and Policy in the Institute of Sport and Leisure Policy at Loughborough University, UK. He gained his PhD (Loughborough) with a thesis investigating the impact of EU policies on the governance of football in Europe and has an interest in the development of the EU sports policy and the study of UEFA. Dr. García has researched extensively the impact of EU decisions in the governance of football since the Bosman ruling and has published articles in peer reviewed journals such as the Journal of Contemporary European Research. He is about to publish an edited book on the europeanisation of football at national level (2011, Manchester University Press). As result of his research, Borja has advised informally Members of the European Parliament, the English FA or UEFA in issues related to the EU sports policy.

Among his most recent work, Borja García was part of a team that has drafted a study for the European Parliament on the consequences of the Lisbon Treaty for EU sports policy, which was recently presented on a hearing of the Parliament’s Committee on Education and Culture. Borja Garcia has been distinguished with an ‘European Citizen of Honour Award’ by the European think-tank Sport et Citoyennete, as the academic who best demonstrated through its work that sport is a factor of reinforcing European citizenship.

Dr García’s research interests focus on agenda-setting and the development of EU sports policy, as well as the application of governance concepts such as accountability and legitimacy to the structures of international sports federations. Borja García’s background combines an academic interest in EU politics (College of Europe) with past professional involvement in media and sports journalism. Borja is one of the founding members of the Association for the Study of Sport and the European Union (

Contact Details

Dr Borja García
Institute of Sport and Leisure Policy
School of Sport and Exercise Sciences
Loughborough University
Loughborough, LE11 3TU
Phone: +44 (0) 1509 226368

For further details on this seminar series contact:

Sean Hamil
Department of Management
Birkbeck College
Malet Street

Tel: 020-7631 6763

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