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Financial Fair Play Rules Face Legal Challenge From Bosman Lawyer

Tue 7th May 2013 | UEFA

UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations will be given their first serious test after an official challenge to the rules was lodged at the European Commission.

A complaint was lodged by Belgium-registered agent Daniel Striani, who argues that the regime is an illegal restriction on his potential income.

Striani will be represented by lawyer Jean Louis-Dupont, who in 1995, famously proved that football's contract system denied Belgian player Jean-Marc Bosman freedom of movement leading to the introduction of the Bosman rule.

UEFA introduced FFP in a bid to control excessive spending by clubs competing in its competitions. Clubs must breakeven or face sanctions imposed by European football’s governing body.

Since the introduction of UEFA’s regulations, the English Football League have introduced their own set of rules and Premier League clubs recently voted to adopt its own version of the financial restrictions.

Football law specialist at Field Fisher and Waterhose LLP, Daniel Geey believes the challenge is a bold one and that the implications for football will be widespread.

“The challenge is certainly a bold move. It means the European Commission will have to assess the UEFA break-even rules based on EU law principles including competition law," said Geey.

“Previously, the Commission had given signals that they were broadly in support of UEFA's arrangements in order to promote self-sufficiency, more rationality in football finances and ensuring clubs are able to complete their fixture lists without getting into financial trouble.

“The implications of the challenge will be widespread as the Premier League and Football League have implemented similar cost control measures. Nonetheless, this complaint and investigation will not be a short process.

“In the meantime, UEFA's Club Financial Control Body will be making licensing decisions based on the FFP criteria. It means there will almost certainly be a number of years of decisions by UEFA before any conclusion is reached on the legality of the FFP break-even rules."

Posted by: Aaron Gourley

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