With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for football fans.
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Following your team for their away matches this season? EU law on free movement of people makes it easy for football fans to travel to watch their national or club team play live.
If you want to watch a match from your living room, European Commission decisions made the procedures for selling media rights more open, transparent and non-discriminatory. This made some national leagues commitments concerning the sale of media rights legally binding ─ a move that benefits football fans. The EU Court of Justice has also ruled that licences for the retransmission of football matches, granting broadcasters national exclusivity, that stop you watching the match with a decoder card in another EU country, are illegal. The Court also confirmed that EU countries can halt exclusive broadcasts of all World Cup and EURO football matches on pay TV, so that everyone gets a chance to watch.
The EU has also tackled other aspects of the beautiful game. A 1995 EU Court of Justice decision (known as the Bosman ruling) means players can leave a club on a free transfer as soon as their contract expires. The EU adopted a handbook with recommendations for international police cooperation to tackle hooliganism, and put measures in place to prevent and control violence connected to international football matches, as well as match-fixing. And for football fans who want to stay fit, the ‘Eurofit‘ project engages fans in health-promoting lifestyle changes.
- EU Football handbook,
- EPRS publication on ‘Match-fixing: Issues and policy responses’, 2016,
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