The Court of Appeal in Brussels has upheld an earlier decision of the Belgian Competition Authority enabling the 2016 launch of Global Champions League, a team show jumping competition developed by the successful Global Champions Tour (GCT) founded by Jan Tops in 2006.
In June of this year, the GCL filed a complaint with the 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.” At the request of GCL, the BCA decided in July to suspend the “exclusivity clause,” allowing GCL Team competitions to proceed in 2016.
The FEI challenged and requested the suspension of the interim measures. On Oct. 22, the Court of Appeal in Brussels rejected the request and upheld the earlier decision by the Belgium Competition Authority (BCA). As a consequence the “exclusivity clause” of the FEI continues to be suspended in respect to the GCL. The Court of Appeal said the FEI had failed to demonstrate the injunction inflicted serious and irreparable harm on the federation. The court said the FEI had managed for more than a century without the clause and failed to show why it was indispensable.
Frank H McCourt Jr, co-owner of GCT, commented, “Momentum around the Global Champions League concept has been rapidly gathering pace since it was conceived and we welcome today’s news that the last hurdle has been removed. We now look forward to focusing our energies on building a new and exciting era for show jumping.”
Global Champions League team competitions will take place every Friday at 15 GCT events around the world including Shanghai, Monaco, Rome, London, Paris, Doha, and Miami Beach.