BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A lawyer involved in the landmark Bosman ruling 18 years ago asked a court on Thursday to overturn a UEFA attempt to limit the spending of top European soccer clubs in a second challenge to its “break-even” rule.
European soccer’s ruling body UEFA will bring in Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations next season to ensure clubs move towards break-even or face exclusion from continental competition.
Jean-Louis Dupont, representing Belgian player agent Daniel Striani, asked a Brussels court to examine the rule and believes it will have to seek the opinion of the European Court of Justice on the matter.
Dupont, who filed a complaint with the European Commission last month, is arguing that the FFP contravenes EU competition law and the right to free movement of workers, services and capital.
He says the rule is illegal under EU law because it is a disproportionate measure and that there are more effective alternatives, such as allowing overspending if fully guaranteed or establishing a ‘luxury tax’.
UEFA suspended Turkish team Besiktas from European competition over a year ago over unpaid bills and have barred Spanish side Malaga from appearing in next season’s Europa League over late payments to creditors.
UEFA has said the Commission, the European Parliament, clubs and leagues all supported its FFP initiative and that it was designed to guarantee long-term viability of football.
It also believes it is in line with EU law.
Dupont was part of the legal team that secured the Bosman ruling at the European Court of Justice in 1995.
The ruling ended national league limits on foreign European Union footballers and allowed players to move to other clubs without a transfer fee at the end of their contracts.
Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop, editing by Justin Palmer