Asser International Sports Law Blog

Our International Sports Law Diary
The Asser International Sports Law Centre is part of the T.M.C. Asser Instituut

UEFA may have won a battle, but it has not won the legal war over FFP

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...

The Nine FFP Settlement Agreements: UEFA did not go the full nine yards

The UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations have been implemented by UEFA since the season 2011/12 with the aim of encouraging responsible spending by clubs for the long-term benefit of football. However, the enforcement of the break-even requirement as defined in Articles 62 and 63 of the Regulations (arguably the most important rules of FFP) has only started this year. Furthermore, UEFA introduced recently amendments to the Procedural rules governing the Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) allowing settlement agreements to be made between the clubs and the CFCB.  

On Friday 16 May, UEFA finally published the nine separate settlement agreements between the respective clubs and the CFCB regarding the non-compliance with the Financial Fair Play (FFP) break-even requirements. More...

FFP the Day After : Five (more or less realistic) Scenarios

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 regulations. More...

Dahmane v KRC Genk: Bosman 2.0 or Storm in a Teacup?

Mohamed Dahmane is a professional football player of French-Algerian origin, who has played for a variety of European clubs, including French club US Mauberge, Belgian club RAEC Mons and Turkish club Bucaspor. However, he will mostly be remembered as the player whose legal dispute with his former club (Belgian club KRC Genk) revived the debate on football players’ labour rights.  More...

Get Up, Stand Up at the Olympics. A review of the IOC's policy towards political statements by Athletes. By Frédérique Faut

The Olympic Games are a universal moment of celebration of sporting excellence. But, attention is also quickly drawn to their dark side, such as environmental issues, human rights breaches and poor living conditions of people living near the Olympic sites. In comparison, however, little commentary space is devoted to the views of athletes, the people making the Olympics. This article tries to remediate this, by focussing on Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter which prevents athletes from freely expressing their (political) thoughts.  More...

Final Report on the FIFA Governance Reform Project: The Past and Future of FIFA’s Good Governance Gap

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...

Doping Paradize – How Jamaica became the Wild West of Doping

Since the landing on the sporting earth of the Übermensch, aka Usain Bolt, Jamaica has been at the centre of doping-related suspicions. Recently, it has been fueling those suspicions with its home-made scandal around the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO). The former executive of JADCO, Renee Anne Shirley, heavily criticized its functioning in August 2013, and Jamaica has been since then in the eye of the doping cyclone. More...

Cocaine, Doping and the Court of Arbitration for sport - “I don’t like the drugs, but the drugs like me”. By Antoine Duval

Beginning of April 2014, the Colombian Olympic Swimmer Omar Pinzón was cleared by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) of an adverse finding of Cocaine detected in a urine sample in 2013. He got lucky. Indeed, in his case the incredible mismanagement and dilettante habits of Bogotá’s anti-doping laboratory saved him from a dire fate: the two-year ban many other athletes have had the bad luck to experience. More...

The French “betting right”: a legislative Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. By Ben Van Rompuy

The European Commission has published the “Study on Sports Organisers’ Rights in the EU”, which was carried out by the ASSER International Sports Law Centre (T.M.C. Asser Institute) and the Institute for Information Law (University of Amsterdam). 

The study critically examines the legal protection of rights to sports events (sports organisers’ rights) and various issues regarding their commercial exploitation in the field of media and sports betting, both from a national and EU law perspective.  

In a number of posts, we will highlight some of the key findings of the study. 

“It was Hyde, after all, and Hyde alone, that was guilty.” 

In recent years, numerous national and European sports organisers have called for the adoption of a specific right to consent to the organisation of bets (“right to consent to bets”), by virtue of which no betting operator could offer bets on a sports event without first entering into a contractual agreement with the organiser. More...

Asser International Sports Law Blog | International and European Sports Law – Monthly Report – June 2017. By Tomáš Grell

Asser International Sports Law Blog

Our International Sports Law Diary
The Asser International Sports Law Centre is part of the T.M.C. Asser Instituut

International and European Sports Law – Monthly Report – June 2017. By Tomáš Grell

 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.


The Headlines

ISLJ Annual Conference on International Sports Law

On 26 and 27 October, the T.M.C. Asser Institute in The Hague will host the first ever ISLJ Annual International Sports Law Conference. This year’s edition will feature panels on the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the world anti-doping system, the FIFA transfer regulations, human rights and sports, the labour rights of athletes, and EU law and sport. We will also welcome the following distinguished keynote speakers:

  •    Miguel Maduro, former Advocate General at the European Court of Justice and former head of FIFA’s Governance Committee
  •    Michael Beloff QC, English barrister known as one of the ‘Godfathers’ of sports law
  •    Stephen Weatherill, Professor at Oxford University and a scholarly authority on EU law and sport
  •    Richard McLaren, CAS arbitrator, sports law scholar and former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) investigation into the Russian doping scandal

You will find all the necessary information related to the conference here. Do not forget to register as soon as possible if you want to secure a place on the international sports law pitch! [Please note that we have a limited amount of seats available, which will be attributed on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.]

The CAS award in Atlético de Madrid v. FIFA

On 1 June 2017, the CAS communicated that it had rendered an award in the arbitration procedure between the Spanish club Atlético de Madrid and FIFA regarding the transfer of minor football players. The CAS Panel confirmed the transfer ban imposed on Atlético de Madrid by the FIFA Appeal Committee in its decision of 8 April 2016. This means that, unlike Real Madrid CF whose ban was reduced by the CAS from two to one entire transfer period, Atlético de Madrid remains banned from registering players both nationally and internationally for two complete and consecutive transfer periods. However, the CAS Panel found that not all of the alleged violations of the FIFA regulations concerning the registration of minor football players could be upheld. As a result, Atlético de Madrid is now obliged to pay CHF 550,000 instead of the original fine amounting to CHF 900,000. The award is not yet available.


The CAS award in ACF Fiorentina v. Mohamed Salah and Chelsea FC

This three-party dispute emerged from a loan agreement concluded between Chelsea FC and ACF Fiorentina in early 2015. Accordingly, the Egyptian international Mohamed Salah was loaned from Chelsea FC to ACF Fiorentina for the period between 2 February 2015 and 30 June 2015, with the option to extend the loan period for twelve more months from 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016, if certain conditions were fulfilled. In July 2015, the player decided to remain at Chelsea FC while the representatives of the Italian club demanded his return to Florence. In August 2015, Salah joined A.S. Roma on a season-long loan from Chelsea FC.

Soon after the commencement of the 2015/2016 season, ACF Fiorentina lodged a complaint with FIFA, alleging that the player breached the loan agreement without just cause, and that Chelsea FC induced him to do so. The Italian club requested a compensation of EUR 32 million and sporting sanctions against both Chelsea FC and Salah. On 26 May 2016, the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber rejected the complaint (‘FIFA DRC Decision’). Disappointed with this decision, ACF Fiorentina filed an appeal with the CAS on 11 October 2016.

In the shadow of Salah’s recent transfer from A.S. Roma to Liverpool FC, the CAS announced on 30 June 2017 that it had dismissed ACF Fiorentina’s appeal and confirmed the FIFA DRC Decision. The award is not yet available.


FIFA’s Human Rights Policy

The amount of work done by international sports federations to strengthen their human rights compliance increases every month. In June 2017, the world’s governing body of football published FIFA’s Human Rights Policy, a document clarifying FIFA’s approach to the implementation of its human rights commitment in accordance with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Simultaneously, FIFA also published its Activity Update on Human Rights mapping the most significant steps taken by the world’s governing body of football over the past twelve months to mitigate human rights risks with which it is repeatedly involved.


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