Protecting European Football: What the EU Can Do

There is a growing sense that European football is not in a good place. Although overall successful from a sporting and financial perspective, it is increasingly criticised for incentivising problematic investments, creating inequalities between clubs, excluding fans from governance structures, and insufficiently supporting female players, among many other things. This paper will argue that the EU can contribute to improving this state of affairs. It will explore three avenues through which change can be effected: these range from the adoption of EU legislation which would aim at subjecting professional football to proper regulatory standards, a path exemplified by the UK Independent Fan-Led Review; to a heightening of the intensity of scrutiny applied in EU case law and competition proceedings in football-related cases; to a re-thinking of the terms of cooperation with governing bodies like UEFA.