GARCIA, B. and MEIER, H.-E., 2011. Limits of interest empowerment in the European Union: The case of football. Journal of European Integration / Revue d'Intégration Européenne (Forthcoming publication)
The European Union (EU) represents an emerging opportunity structure refining societal actors’ chances to get access to and influence over policy-making. While research has mainly focused on lobbying within the legislative arena we provide evidence that competition policy can also be understood as a venue of interest group politics by taking the case of European football. The specific institutional features of competition policy have the potential to increase probability of access and lower costs for political action for certain interest groups but also to limit potential benefits from interest group politics. Professional football players and clubs in Europe have used competition policy procedures as an avenue to challenge the supremacy of governing bodies such as UEFA in the game’s organisational structures. Whilst managing some impact in terms of policy, the challengers have attained only moderate influence in football’s sectoral governance.