On October 7, 2020, the Frankfurt am Main Court of Appeals found the top-tier sports association for beach volleyball (Deutscher Volleyball-Verband, “DVV”) liable for abusing its dominant position by discriminating the plaintiffs, two female professional volleyball players.[1] The plaintiffs were awarded USD 17,000 in damages reflecting the prize money the plaintiffs missed out on during that period of time.

The court found that only DVV could nominate players for international tournaments and thus held a monopoly. DVV therefore had an obligation to consider and nominate any team fulfilling the performance criteria. DVV did not meet this standard, but refused to nominate the claimants to participate in any international competition since April 2019. Instead, DVV determined a number of national teams to whom it guaranteed spots in international tournaments irrespective of their performance in an effort to alleviate their pressure to perform, and even though the plaintiffs ranked higher in the worlds ranking than some of the sponsored national teams. The court found that the intent to alleviate pressure from certain teams did not constitute an objective justification for the selection. DVV has announced to appeal the decision.

[1]              Frankfurt am Main Court of Appeals (2-06 O 457/19) judgment of October 7, 2020. See also the press release only available in German here.