Brussels, 24 January 2007
Football clubs: Commission closes procedure against France concerning ban on raising capital from the public
The European Commission has closed the infringement procedure initiated against France on account of its legislation preventing football and other professional sports clubs from being listed on stock markets. This prohibition constituted an unjustified obstacle to the free movement of capital, infringing the EC Treaty (Article 56). The decision to close the case has been taken following a satisfactory amendment made to the French legislation
The Commission had sent France a reasoned opinion since its legislation prohibited limited companies operating in the field of sport from raising capital from the public (IP/05/1592). This prohibition prevented professional sports clubs, in particular football clubs, from being listed on the stock market. While acknowledging that protection of savers and the promotion of a certain degree of equality in sports competitions are relevant objectives of general interest, the Commission considered that a total ban on raising capital from the public was disproportionate and therefore incompatible with the rules of the EC Treaty on the free movement of capital.
The French legislation in question has been amended as a result of the adoption of Act No 2006-1770 of 30 December 2006 (on the development of employee participation and shareholding, published in the Journal officiel de la République française of 31 December 2006). Article 68 of that Act removes the prohibition on limited companies operating in the field of sport from raising capital from the public.
As a result of this amendment to the legislation, the Commission has decided to close the infringement procedure opened against France.
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