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Football Glory, Credit Crisis and State’s Paternalism · Case T-766/16 Hércules CF v European Commission · Annotation by Begoña Pérez Bernabeu

Annotation on the Judgment of the General Court (Fourth Chamber) of 20 March 2019 in Case T-766/16 Hércules CF v European Commission.

DOI https://doi.org/10.21552/estal/2019/4/12

Begoña Pérez Bernabeu


Football is the most famous sport all around the globe and is also of great social and cultural significance. For this reason, State authorities may be tempted to provide additional support to professional football clubs which find themselves in an acute financial crisis through direct or indirect (like guarantees, tax or levies exemptions, loans on more favourable terms, transactions under non-market conditions) support measures. However, the football sector is not special for competition rules and the Commission has recently begun to enforce State aid rules in football. In the Hércules CF judgment, the General Court studies a situation that perfectly fits in the above-described situation since it analyses the grant of a public guarantee to a professional football club which is in a difficult financial position. Finally, the General Court annulled the Commission’s Decision on formal grounds on the basis of a comprehensive approach of the proof assessment carried out by the Commission.
Keywords: Football; Indirect financial support; Guarantee; Loan; Lack of motivation.

Begoña Pérez Bernabeu is Tax Law Professor, University of Alicante (Spain) and Member of the Research Excellence Group PROMETEO/2016/053.

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