Unlawfully-Relegated Virton to be Re-Integrated into Professional Football

Unlawfully-Relegated Virton to be Re-Integrated into Professional Football
After a year filled with legal battles against the Royal Belgian Football’s Association (URBSFA), Excelsior Virton (Virton) will compete in professional football again. In contrast to last year, both the URSBFA and the Belgian Court of Arbitration for Sports (CBAS) have granted the club its licence to compete in professional football. The club successfully challenged last year’s licence refusal on competition law grounds before the Belgian Competition Authority (Authority), which decided that the club’s relegation to non-professional football was unlawful. However, the procedural ‘avalanche’ between URBSFA and Virton is far from over, as at least two more decisions are expected in separate appeal procedures related to the Authority’s decisions in this matter.

On 14 April 2021, the URBSFA’s licensing committee granted a licence to Virton to compete in professional football. Nevertheless, the granting of the licence was subject to budget monitoring by the URBSFA’s licensing auditor. Virton initially opposed that budget monitoring and lodged an appeal before the CBAS. During the arbitral hearing, Virton no longer objected to the budget monitoring as such but deemed that these measures were not adequate and proportionate to...

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