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Lawyer challenges Financial Fair Play rules

Bosman lawyer challenges new UEFA overspending regulations, saying they restrict competition and threaten player wages.

Last Modified: 06 May 2013 14:48
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Spanish Primera Division side Malaga fell victim to UEFA's rules when they were banned from European club competitions for one upcoming season in December after failing to pay players wages and tax bills on time [GALLO/GETTY]

A lawyer involved in the landmark Bosman ruling 18 years ago lodged a European Commission complaint on Monday against UEFA rules aimed at limiting the spending of top clubs.

European football'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, is challenging the break-even rule and believes it restricts competition.

Restrictive regulations

"In effect a club owner is prohibited from overspending even if such overspending aims at growing the club," Dupont said in a statement.

He added the rule restricts investment, ensures the continued dominance of the leading clubs, reduces transfer activity and is likely to lead to a cut in player wages and the income of agents.

UEFA suspended Turkish team Besiktas from European competition a year ago over unpaid bills and announced in December the same punishment for Spanish side Malaga.

The European Commission confirmed it had received a complaint but declined to comment further.

UEFA said the Commission, the European Parliament, clubs and leagues had all supported its FFP initiative and that it was designed to guarantee long-term viability of football.

It said it believed FFP was fully in line with EU law and was confident the Commission would reject the complaint.

Dupont said that even if the ban on overspending was justifiable, it would be illegal because UEFA could achieve its aims with a less restrictive measure.

He added UEFA could instead require that any spending beyond projected income be fully guaranteed for the duration of a season.

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.

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Source:
Reuters
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