Short Reads

European Commission deems support measures in favour of Dutch football clubs in line with State aid rules

European Commission deems support measures in favour of Dutch footbal

European Commission deems support measures in favour of Dutch football clubs in line with State aid rules

02.08.2016 NL law

On 4 July 2016, the European Commission decided that support measures granted by several Dutch municipalities to football clubs do not breach State aid rules. 

This marks the end of a long in-depth investigation into these measures started by the Commission in 2013.

In the years 2011 and 2012 some Dutch football clubs experienced financial problems, namely PSV, Den Bosch, MVV Maastricht, NEC and Willem II. The municipalities of these clubs decided to take measures to support them. The support these clubs received from their respective municipalities took different forms.

The municipality of Eindhoven entered into a sale and leaseback transaction with PSV. This transaction entailed that the municipality of Eindhoven (i) bought the land on which the Philips stadium and a training block were built for a price of EUR 48,385,000 and (ii) leased it back to the football club.

The other four clubs received direct financial aid from their respective municipalities. The municipality of Maastricht for instance waived a claim of EUR1.7 million on MVV Maastricht and bought the football stadium and training grounds for EUR 1.85 million. The municipality of Tilburg lowered the rent of the stadium with retroactive effect, resulting in a total advantage for Willem II of EUR 2.4 million.

However, there were conditions attached to the aid granted to the four clubs. The football clubs contributed significantly to the costs of their restructuring and agreed to limit the negative effects of the support measures on the market for example by reducing the number of employees, the number of registered players and players' wages.

The Commission found that the transaction between the municipality of Eindhoven and PSV had been carried out on terms acceptable to a market investor, and therefore did not constitute aid. In its assessment, the Commission took account of an independent external valuation report that was used by the municipality as a basis of the transaction. However, the Commission concluded that the support measures to the other football clubs constituted State aid, which is compatible with the European market since it complies with the Guidelines on State aid for rescuing and restructuring firms in difficulty due to the conditions attached to the aid.

As a result of the Commission's decision, no State aid has to be recovered by the municipalities from the football clubs in question. This stands in stark contrast with the case about the State aid granted to Spanish football clubs. Spain has to recover large amount of aid from Spanish football clubs.

This article was published in the Competition Law Newsletter of August 2016. Other articles in this newsletter:

  1. Court of Justice clarifies the legality of royalty payments in the event of revocation or non-infringement of the licensed patent 
  2. General Court confirms fines imposed on the basis of economic continuity in maritime hose cartel 
  3. European Commission imposes record cartel fine on truck manufacturers for price fixing 
  4. European Commission deems support measures in favour of Dutch football clubs in line with State aid rules 
  5. Dutch District Court ruled that parent companies cannot be held liable for damages arising from antitrust infringements committed by their subsidiaries 
  6. ACM lowered fines in the pepper cartel case 
  7. Dutch Supreme Court confirms the availability of a passing-on defence in antitrust damages litigation 
  8. Brussels Court of Appeal rules that concerted lobbying efforts of cement producers do not breach competition law 
  9. Belgian competition authority upholds licence refusal to football club White Star

Source: Competition Law Newsletter August 2016

Team

Related news

26.03.2020 BE law
​I am suffering significant financial losses as a result of the spread of the corona virus. Is there a possibility of State aid?

Short Reads - COVID-19 brings certain questions to centre stage regarding State aid. In this short read, Peter Wytinck, Sophie Van Besien and Michèle de Clerck discuss the possibility of State aid in case of significant financial losses as a result of the spread of the corona virus.

Read more

05.03.2020 NL law
Swifter merger clearance and shorter merger filings in Belgium

Short Reads - Companies can expect swifter merger clearance and simpler filing rules in Belgium. The Belgian Competition Authority has published a communication with additional rules concerning the simplified procedure for certain types of concentrations. As a result, a new category of concentrations will be eligible for a simplified merger filing, leading to swifter approval and lower costs. It will also allow the BCA to focus its resources on more problematic and complex files.

Read more

10.03.2020 NL law
De AVG staat niet in de weg aan de verwerking van persoonsgegevens door een toezichthouder tijdens een bedrijfsbezoek

Short Reads - Bedrijven die met toezicht worden geconfronteerd, zijn gehouden op verzoek van een toezichthouder in beginsel alle informatie te verstrekken. Met de komst van de Algemene verordening gegevensbescherming (AVG) is in de praktijk de vraag opgekomen of een toezichthouder bevoegd is om persoonsgegevens die onderdeel uitmaken van de gevraagde informatie te verwerken.

Read more

05.03.2020 NL law
ECJ confirms: gun jumping is double trouble

Short Reads - Companies beware: the European Court of Justice has confirmed the Commission’s practice of imposing two separate fines for gun jumping; one for failing to notify a concentration prior to its implementation, and another for implementing the concentration before obtaining clearance. The ruling underlines, once again, the increased focus of competition authorities on procedural merger control breaches – good reason for companies to keep a watchful eye on their gun jumping obligations and to take note of the possibility of two separate gun jumping fines. 

Read more

05.03.2020 NL law
CBb confirms: no cartel fine, still interest to appeal cartel decision

Short Reads - Companies can challenge a decision establishing that they committed a competition law violation, even if no fine was imposed on them. The CBb – the highest court for public enforcement of cartel cases – recently confirmed that the absence of a fine does not affect a company’s interest to appeal. Consequently, parent companies held liable for a subsidiary’s cartel infringement can still challenge a cartel decision, irrespective of whether fines were imposed on them separately.

Read more

05.03.2020 NL law
Commission continues cross-border trade crusade

Short Reads - The European Commission is on a roll in its fight against territorial sales restrictions. Just one month after fining broadcast network company NBCUniversal for restricting cross-border sales, it has also imposed a fine on hotel group Meliá for discriminating between customers based on nationality or place of residence. Meanwhile, the Commission is urging national consumer protection authorities to tackle cross-border issues, after an EU-wide screening of nearly 500 e-shops showed that one fifth of the flagged websites did not respect the Geo-blocking Regulation. 

Read more

This website uses cookies. Some of these cookies are essential for the technical functioning of our website and you cannot disable these cookies if you want to read our website. We also use functional cookies to ensure the website functions properly and analytical cookies to personalise content and to analyse our traffic. You can either accept or refuse these functional and analytical cookies.

Privacy – en cookieverklaring