Abandoning hopes for veto power: institutional options for sport’s governing bodies in the EU

2011-10-07T15:48:54Z (GMT) by Borja Garcia-Garcia Henk-Erik Meier
For a long time, sport governing bodies have put high hopes in a consideration of sport in the European Union (EU) Treaties. Ideally, such a sport consideration should not only entitle the sport bodies to get access to the EU budget but, more importantly, also attach more weight to political considerations of sport specificity in proceedings before the European Commission and the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). While the Treaty of Lisbon denied the sport bodies once more any exception under EU law, it has set a new scenario under which to develop EU sports policy. This article explores what institutional status would be most beneficial for the sport bodies in that new scenario. By employing basic ideas of veto player (VP) theory, we arrive at the conclusion that veto power within EU policymaking would be likely to grant sport bodies more influence in policymaking, but could also result in bargaining deadlock without ending or solving the conflicts at stake. Only if the sport bodies would be given the status of a legitimate representative of the ‘sporting movement’, they could prevent any detrimental EUinduced policy change. Since such a status is unlikely to be achieved, our recommendation for the sport bodies is to continue to pursue a more inclusive approach towards other stakeholders in the sport sector.