A positive ruling for football fans by the European Court of Justice
05 Oct 2011
Brussels , Belgium
Mr Schwab, why is this important for European consumers?
It's a very positive decision of the European Court of Justice because consumers and TV spectators can, if they look on a European-wide basis, get cheaper prices for their TV options and that's very positive.
Many people would say there's too much money in football and that it's distorting the game. Do you think this will perhaps put back a sense of proportion into the game, particularly at a time of crisis?
I mean, the salaries of football players have not been put into question here, although they are a little bit too high from my point of view. But on an overall basis this judgment will help to create a level playing field for European football players and European football leagues, and that's very helpful to get a fair, level playing field in Europe.
So what scope is there for the Commission to take this ruling and to build further upon it?
I think first the Commission must take seriously the competences that they got under the treaty of Lisbon on sports. They have to do that very sensibly because member states and football leagues – and football is a large popular movement also – must be respected. But on the other side it's clear that Europe counts at this stage, and European football games are more popular than ever. So we have to combine the football-playing idea on a popular basis and on the other side real top games at European level, and here the Commission has something to do, I think.
Do you see any drawbacks or do you have any concerns about this ruling?
I don't see a great concern today but I think we have to take care that football, as a popular sport, remains attractive to a large number of people, and if the money goes only to the top clubs in Europe, that would destroy this structure and we have to take care of it.
Yannis ZografosManaging ProducerBelgiumioannis.firstname.lastname@example.org