Brussels Court of Appeal rules in favour of freedom of choice for horse riders

On 22 October 2015, a press released was issued stating that the Brussels Court of Appeal rules in favour of freedom of choice for riders, thus enabling launch of Global Champions League (GCL) in 2016.

In June of this year, the GCL filed a complaint with the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) alleging the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) had breached EU competition law by using its rules to prevent riders and horses from competing in events not approved by the FEI by imposing a so-called “exclusivity clause”. The BCA suspended the the “exclusivity clause” already in July, but this was challenged by the FEI. On 22 October the Court of Appeal in Brussels rejected the request of the FEI to cancel the suspension and upheld the earlier decision by the Belgium Competition Authority. This decision means riders have the freedom to compete in the highly anticipated GCL events, where teams will go head to head for unprecedented prize money in spectacular destinations worldwide next year.

This is a big step in the fight for “Agility; a hobby, a freedom”, which will probably have a positive influence on the similar legal case in Belgium, and even spill over to other countries where official bodies also try to unrightfully enforce exclusivity clauses.

For full text of the press release, click here.

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