Editor's note: This report compiles all relevant news, events and materials on International and European Sports Law based on the daily coverage provided on our twitter feed @Sportslaw_asser. You are invited to complete this survey via the comments section below, feel free to add links to important cases, documents and articles we might have overlooked.
FIFA and FIFPro sign landmark agreement
A six-year cooperation agreement concluded between FIFA and FIFPro on 6 November 2017 puts an end to protracted negotiations which began after the latter had filed in September 2015 a complaint with the European Commission, challenging the validity of the FIFA transfer system under EU competition law. This agreement, together with an accord reached between FIFA, FIFPro, the European Club Association, and the World Leagues Forum under the umbrella of the FIFA Football Stakeholders Committee, should help streamline dispute resolution between players and clubs, avoid abusive practices in the world of football, or contribute to the growth of professional women's football. In addition, the FIFA Football Stakeholders Committee is now expected to establish a task force to study and conduct a broader review of the transfer system. As part of the deal, FIFPro agreed to withdraw its EU competition law complaint.
FIFA strengthens its human rights commitment amid reports of journalists getting arrested in Russia
It is fair to say that human rights have been at the forefront of FIFA's agenda in 2017. Following the establishment of the Human Rights Advisory Board in March and the adoption of the Human Rights Policy in June this year, in November FIFA published the bidding regulations for the 2026 World Cup. Under these new regulations, member associations bidding to host the final tournament shall, inter alia, commit themselves to respecting all internationally recognised human rights in line with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights or present a human rights strategy on how they intend to honour this commitment. Importantly, the human rights strategy must include a comprehensive report that is to be complemented and informed by a study elaborated by an independent expert organisation. Moreover, on 9 November 2017, the Human Rights Advisory Board published its first report in which it outlined several recommendations for FIFA on how to further strengthen its efforts to ensure respect for human rights.
While all these attempts to enhance human rights protection are no doubt praiseworthy, they have not yet produced the desired effect as reports of gross human rights abuses linked to FIFA's activities continue to emerge. Most recently, Human Rights Watch documented how Russian police arrested a newspaper editor and a human rights defender whose work focused on exposing World Cup-related corruption and exploitation of migrant construction workers. On a more positive note, a bit of hope comes with the announcement by a diverse coalition, including FIFA, UEFA, and the International Olympic Committee, of its intention to launch a new independent Centre for Sport and Human Rights -->
sure that in 1985, plutonium is available in every corner drugstore, but in
1955, it's a little hard to come by.” (Dr. Emmett L. Brown)
Back to the future?
Availing oneself of EU law in the ambit of sports in
1995 must have felt a bit like digging for plutonium, but following the
landmark ruling of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the Bosman case,
20 years later, with all the buzz surrounding several cases where EU law is
being used as an efficient ammunition for shelling various sports governing or
organising bodies, one may wonder if in 2015 EU law is to be “found in every
drug store” and the recent cases (see inter alia Heinz Müller v 1. FSV Mainz 05, Daniel Striani ao v UEFA, Doyen Sports ao v URBSFA, FIFA, UEFA)  cannot
but invitingly evoke the spirit of 1995.
One of the aforementioned cases that also stands out
pertains to the injunction decision issued
on 29 April 2015 by the Regional Court (Landesgericht) in Frankfurt am Main
(hereinafter: the Court) in the dispute between the intermediary company Firma
Rogon Sportmanagement (hereinafter: the claimant) and the German Football
Federation (Deutschen Fußball-Bund, DFB), where the claimant challenged the
provisions of the newly adopted DFB Regulations on Intermediaries (hereinafter: DFB Regulations) for
being incompatible with Articles 101 and 102 TFEU.
The Court, by acknowledging the urgency of the matter stemming from the
upcoming transfer window and the potential loss of clients, deemed a couple of
shells directed at the DFB Regulations to be well-aimed, and granted an
injunction due to breach of Article 101 TFEU. More...
The first part of the present blog article provided a
general introduction to the compatibility of fixed-term contracts in football
with Directive 1999/70/EC
(Directive). However, as the Member States of the European Union enjoy a
considerable discretion in the implementation of a directive, grasping the
impact of the Directive on the world of football would not be possible without considering
the national context. The recent ruling of the Arbeitsgericht Mainz (the lowest
German labour court; hereinafter the Court) in proceedings brought by a German
footballer Heinz Müller provides an important example in this regard. This second
part of the blog on the legality of fixed-term contract in football is devoted
to presenting and assessing the Court’s decision.
I. Facts and Procedure
Heinz Müller, the main protagonist of this case, was a goalkeeper
playing for 1.FSV Mainz 05 a club partaking to the German Bundesliga. More...
On 25 March 2015, the Labour Court of Mainz
issued its decision in proceedings brought by a German footballer,
Heinz Müller, against his (now former) club 1. FSV Mainz 05 (Mainz 05). The
Court sided with the player and ruled that Müller should have been employed by
Mainz 05 for an indefinite period following his 2009 three year contract with
the club which was subsequently extended in 2011 to run until mid-2014. The
judgment was based on national law implementing Directive 1999/70 on fixed-term
(Directive) with the latter being introduced pursuant to art. 155(2) TFEU (ex
art. 139(2) TEC). On the basis of this
article, European social partners’ may request a framework agreement which they
conclude to be implemented on the European Union (EU, Union) level by a Council
decision on a proposal from the Commission. One of the objectives of the framework
and therefore of the Directive, was to establish a system to prevent abuse
arising from the use of successive fixed-term employment contracts or
which lies at the heart of the discussed problem.