High-profile investigations into Dutch and Spanish football have brought the application of EU State aid law in sport into sharp focus, highlighting serious and potentially widespread legal failings throughout professional football in Europe. The EU recognises professional football as economically, socially and culturally vital; thus, in the highly politicised arena of State aid, enforcement is far from straightforward. This overlooked tension between EU law and sport provides a new and interesting angle from which to view the EU’s policy on sport, and the relationships between global actors, the Commission, UEFA, Member States and professional football clubs. The area also makes visible a dynamic interaction of interests, engaging the EU internal market, the societal role of sport, UEFA financial fair play and Member State autonomy. The operation of State aid law in football looks set to revolutionise funding in sport generally, presenting an exciting opportunity for EU sports policy, and also putting impetus behind continued State aid modernisation.