The main lesson of this year’s transfer window
is that UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules have a true bite (no pun
intended). Surely, the transfer fees have reached usual highs with Suarez’s
move to FC Barcelona and Rodriguez’s transfer from AS Monaco to Real Madrid and
overall spending are roughly equal to 2013 (or go beyond as in the UK). But clubs sanctioned under the FFP rules
(prominently PSG and Manchester City) have seemingly complied with the
settlements reached with UEFA capping their transfer spending and wages. More...
This year the race for UEFA Europa League places in Serie A was
thrilling. In the final minutes of the last game of the season, Alessio Cerci,
Torino FC striker, had the opportunity to score a penalty that would have
qualified his team to the 2014-2015 edition of the UEFA Europa League. However,
he missed and Parma FC qualified instead. More...
Yesterday, the press revealed
that the European Commission decided to reject the complaint filed by
Jean-Louis Dupont, the former lawyer of Bosman, on behalf of a player agent
Striani, against the UEFA Financial Fair Play (FFP) Regulations. The rejection
as such is not a surprise. The Commission had repeatedly expressed support of
the principles underlying the UEFA FFP. While these statements
were drafted vaguely and with enough heavy caveats to protect the Commission
from prejudicing a proper legal assessment, the withdrawal of its support would
have been politically embarrassing.
Contrary to what is now widely assumed, this decision
does not entail that UEFA FFP regulations are compatible with EU Competition
Law. UEFA is clearly the big victor, but the legal reality is more complicated
as it looks. More...
Yesterday, UEFA published the very
much-expected settlements implementing its Financial Fair Play (FFP)
regulations. Today, we address tomorrow’s challenges for FFP, we offer five,
more or less realistic, scenarios sketching the (legal) future of the FFP
Qatar’s successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup left many people
thunderstruck: How can a country with a population of 2 million people and with
absolutely no football tradition host the biggest football event in the world?
Furthermore, how on earth can players and fans alike survive when the
temperature is expected to exceed 50 °C during the month (June) the tournament
is supposed to take place?
Other people were less surprised when FIFA’s President, Sepp Blatter,
pulled the piece of paper with the word “Qatar” out of the envelope on 2
December 2010. This was just the latest move by a sporting body that was reinforcing
a reputation of being over-conservative, corrupt, prone to conflict-of-interest
and convinced of being above any Law, be it national or international.More...
The last years has seen the European Commission being put under
increasing pressure to enforce EU State aid law in sport. For example, numerous
Parliamentary questions have been asked by Members of the European Parliament regarding
alleged State aid to sporting clubs. In
reply to this pressure, on 21 March 2012, the European Commission, together
with UEFA, issued a statement. More...
Football-wise, 2014 will not only be remembered for the
World Cup in Brazil. This year will also determine the credibility of UEFA’s
highly controversial Financial Fair Play
(FFP) Regulations. The FFP debate will soon be reaching a climax, since up to 76 European
football clubs are facing sanctions by the UEFA Club Financial Control Body (CFCB).
On 10 April, the ASSER Sports Law Centre had the honour of welcoming Prof. Weatherill (Oxford University) for a thought-provoking lecture.
In his lecture, Prof. Weatherill outlined to what extent the rules of Sports Governing Bodies enjoy legal autonomy (the so-called lex sportiva) and to what extent this autonomy could be limited by other fields of law such as EU Law. The 45 minutes long lecture lays out three main strategies used in different contexts (National, European or International) by the lex sportiva to secure its autonomy. The first strategy, "The contractual solution", relies on arbitration to escape the purview of national and European law. The second strategy, is to have recourse to "The legislative solution", i.e. to use the medium of national legislations to impose lex sportiva's autonomy. The third and last strategy - "The interpretative or adjudicative solution"- relies on the use of interpretation in front of courts to secure an autonomous realm to the lex sportiva.