Editor's note: Rhys was an intern at the T.M.C. Asser Institute. He now advises on investments and Notre acquisitions in sport (mainly football) via Lovelle Street Advisory. Following a career as a professional athlete, Rhys has spent much of his professional life as an international sports agent, predominantly operating in football. Rhys has a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) and a Bachelor of Philosophy (B.Phil.) from the University of Dame, Sydney, Australia. He is currently completing an LL.M at the University of Zurich in International Business Law / International Sports Law.
Having looked at the different types of
investors in football in part one of this two-part blog series, “A
non-exhaustive Typology”, it is fitting to now consider the regulations
that apply to investors who seek to build a portfolio of football clubs.
One way to measure the momentum of a
particular practice and how serious it ought to be taken, might be when that
practice earns its own initialism. Multi-club ownership or MCO as it is
increasingly known today, is the name given to those entities that have an
ownership stake in multiple clubs. Within the little research and writing that
has been undertaken on the topic, some authors submit that investors with
minority stakes in multiple clubs ought not to be captured by the MCO
definition. This position appears
problematic given some of the regulations draw the line at influence rather
are now approximately 50 MCO’s across the football world that own approximately
Given the way MCO is trending, one might consider it important that the
regulations keep up with the developing MCO practice, so as to ensure the
integrity of football competitions, and to regulate any other potentially
questionable benefit an MCO might derive that would be contrary to football’s
In this blog, I focus on the variety of
ways (and levels at which) this practice is being regulated. I will move through the football pyramid from
member associations (MA’s) to FIFA, laying the foundations to support a proposition
that FIFA and only FIFA is positioned to regulate MCO. More...
The first part of this
two-part blog on multi-club ownership in European football outlined the circumstances
leading to the adoption of the initial rule(s) aimed at ensuring the integrity
of the UEFA club competitions (Original Rule) and retraced the
early existence of such rule(s), focusing primarily on the complaints brought
before the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the European Commission by the
English company ENIC plc. This second part will, in turn, introduce the
relevant rule as it is currently enshrined in Article 5 of the UCL Regulations
2015-18 Cycle, 2017/18 Season (Current Rule). It will then explore how the UEFA Club Financial
Control Body (CFCB) interpreted and applied the Current Rule in the Red Bull
case, before drawing some concluding remarks. More...
Tomáš Grell holds an LL.M.
in Public International Law from Leiden University. He contributes to
the work of the ASSER International Sports Law Centre as a research
13 September 2017, more than 40,000 people witnessed the successful debut of
the football club RasenBallsport Leipzig (RB Leipzig) in the UEFA Champions
League (UCL) against AS Monaco. In the eyes of many supporters of the
German club, the mere fact of being able to participate in the UEFA's flagship
club competition was probably more important than the result of the game
itself. This is because, on the pitch, RB Leipzig secured their place in the
2017/18 UCL group stage already on 6 May 2017 after
an away win against Hertha Berlin.
However, it was not until 16 June 2017 that the UEFA Club Financial Control
Body (CFCB) officially allowed RB Leipzig to participate in the 2017/18 UCL alongside its sister club,
Austrian giants FC Red Bull Salzburg (RB Salzburg).
As is well known, both clubs have (had) ownership links to the beverage company
Red Bull GmbH (Red Bull), and therefore it came as no surprise that the idea
of two commonly owned clubs participating in the same UCL season raised
concerns with respect to the competition's integrity. More...