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

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...

Five Years UEFA Club Licensing Benchmarking Report – A Report on the Reports. By Frédérique Faut, Giandonato Marino and Oskar van Maren

Last week, UEFA, presented its annual Club Licensing Benchmark Report, which analyses socio-economic trends in European club football. The report is relevant in regard to the FFP rules, as it has been hailed by UEFA as a vindication of the early (positive) impact of FFP. This blog post is a report on the report. We go back in time, analysing the last 5 UEFA Benchmarking Reports, to provide a dynamic account of the reports findings. Indeed, the 2012 Benchmarking Report, can be better grasped in this context and longer-lasting trends be identified.More...

The EU State aid and Sport Saga – Setting the scene

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[1] 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...

Asser International Sports Law Blog | Tapping TV Money: Players' Union Scores A Goal In Brazil. By Giandonato Marino

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

Tapping TV Money: Players' Union Scores A Goal In Brazil. By Giandonato Marino

On March 27, 2014, a Brazilian court ruling authorized the Football Players’ Union in the State of Sao Paulo[1] to tap funds generated by TV rights agreements destined to a Brazilian Club, Comercial Futebol Clube (hereinafter “Comercial”). The Court came to this decision after Comercial did not comply with its obligation  to pay players’ salaries. It is a peculiar decision when taking into account the global problem of clubs overspending and not complying with their financial obligations.  Furthermore, it could create a precedent for future cases regarding default by professional sporting clubs.

In 2013, 19 players were victims of financial mismanagement of the football club based in Ribeirao Preto. This year, with the problem still unresolved, the 19 players once again were facing financial distress. The total sum that Comercial still owed players, which consisted of overdue salaries, social security contributions and severance pay after contract expiration, amounted to R$ 363,147.71, or €120,000.00. By means of meeting the player’s demands, Comercial had issued unredeemed cheques in order to pay part of the salaries of the Players before this year’s carnival. To receive the salaries Comercial owed, the Players’ Union filed a complaint against Comercial in front of the Labour Court of Ribeirao Preto, representing eight players who are members of the Union. It asked, inter alia, for a provisional measure that would freeze  the amount that Comercial would receive from the Football Federation of Sao Paulo and the Brazilian television network Rede Globo for the TV rights. Rede Globo is the biggest broadcasting company in Brazil and holds the rights to broadcast the main competitions in football, including the upcoming FIFA World Cup. For Comercial, this would mean not receiving up to €850,000.00 from the Football Federation of Sao Paulo for the TV rights agreement. The agreement included the broadcasting of the Campeonato Paulista, for which Comercial was to be paid in four instalments (January, February, March and April 2014). At the time of the request, three out of four instalments had already been paid. Therefore, the Players’ Union could only acquire the amount of the fourth instalment due in April 2014, equal to €210,000.00.

In accordance with the tradition of Roman Law, on which the Brazilian legal system was developed, the Court had identified the existence of both legal requirements in order to issue a provisional measure: fumus boni juris, i.e. that the claim has a reasonable prospect of success and periculum in mora, i.e. the danger that claimant's rights may be impaired by the lapse of time. Regarding the first requirement, the Court established (in accordance with Article 335 of Brazilian Civil Procedural Code[2]) that Comercial had issued cheques that afterwards could not be claimed by the players. As regards the second requirement, the Court took in consideration the fact that Comercial was relegated to the second division of the Sao Paulo State League[3] and that the players were dismissed.

As a consequence, the Court accepted the request of the Players’ Union, and ordered the Football Federation of Sao Paulo and Rede Globo to deposit the amount that was due to CFC on the Union’s bank account instead. Whether Comercial exerted its possibility to challenge this measure within five days is yet unknown.

This decision is, to our knowledge, a novel and efficient method (from the point of view of the players) to tackle the problem of unpaid salaries in the world of football. It has, therefore, also been welcomed by FIFPRO. The measure issued in this particular case is of limited importance, because it only applies to the eight players affiliated to the Players’ Union. However, the method used by the Union, ceasing the TV rights income directly, might prove very useful for players in similar situations worldwide, it ensures that, even in case of default of their employers, the contractual demands of the players can be satisfied.

2nd Labour Court of Ribeirao Preto SAPESP-Comercial F C (3).pdf (14.6KB)

[1] Sindicato de Atletas Profissionais do Estado de São Paulo, one of the five founding members of the Brazilian National Players’ Union (FENAPAF)

[2] that states the application of rules of common experience in absence of specific regulations

[3] Paulistão da Série A2

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