The European Commission finds the International Skating Union’s (“ISU”) rules, which foresee significant penalties for athlet…

The ISU is the only body recognised by the International Olympic Commi ee (“IOC”) in charge of managing gure skating and speed skating on ice. The ISU is formed by national ice skating associations and is competent for organising and generating revenues from speed skating competitions

The Commission has found that, under the ISU eligibility rules, in place since 1998, speed skaters who participate in competitions that are not approved by the ISU may be imposed very signi cant penalties, including a lifetime ban from all major international speed skating events

According to the Commission, these rules hinder competition and enable ISU’s commercial interest to prevail over the interest of athletes and organisers of competing events More precisely, the Commission has concluded that the rules in question diminish the freedom of athletes by preventing them from participating in independent skating events, which may ultimately have a negative impact on their income

In addition, the ISU eligibility rules harm independent organizers in so far as they are not capable of a racting top athletes to their events. This entails a barrier for the development of alternative and innovative speed skating competitions

Although the ISU slightly amended its eligibility rules in June 2016, the Commission has concluded that the system of penalties is still disproportionate and precludes the emergence of independent international speed skating competitions

On these grounds, the Commission has established that the ISU eligibility rules violate Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”) The ISU has now 90 days to stop its conduct and shall repeal or amend the existing rules so as to ensure that penalties pursue legitimate objectives and are proportionate to these objectives If the ISU does not comply with the Commission’s decision, it could be penalized with nes of up to 5% of its average daily turnover.