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UEFA Financial Fair Play: the savior of football or the road to the next Bosman-ruling?

Stroucken, Andreas LU (2013) JURM01 20131
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Det styrande organet i europeisk fotboll, UEFA, har nyligen introducerat Financial Fair Play-regler som en del av det sedan tidigare existerande Club Licensing-systemet. Kärnan i Financial Fair Play reglerna är ett break-even-krav som tvingar de europeiska fotbollsklubbarna att leva efter sina resurser.

Uppsatsens syfte är att analysera om Financial Fair Play-reglerna är förenliga med EU-rätten. Av särskilt intresse är EU-rättens konkurrensrättsliga regler, som återfinns i Artikel 101 FEUF och Artikel 102 FEUF, samt regeln gällande fri rörlighet för arbetstagare, som återfinns i Artikel 45 FEUF. För att genomföra analysen på ett relevant sätt har sportrelaterad praxis legat i fokus och studerats ingående, eftersom principerna om... (More)
Det styrande organet i europeisk fotboll, UEFA, har nyligen introducerat Financial Fair Play-regler som en del av det sedan tidigare existerande Club Licensing-systemet. Kärnan i Financial Fair Play reglerna är ett break-even-krav som tvingar de europeiska fotbollsklubbarna att leva efter sina resurser.

Uppsatsens syfte är att analysera om Financial Fair Play-reglerna är förenliga med EU-rätten. Av särskilt intresse är EU-rättens konkurrensrättsliga regler, som återfinns i Artikel 101 FEUF och Artikel 102 FEUF, samt regeln gällande fri rörlighet för arbetstagare, som återfinns i Artikel 45 FEUF. För att genomföra analysen på ett relevant sätt har sportrelaterad praxis legat i fokus och studerats ingående, eftersom principerna om EU-rättens relation till sport endast kan utläsas från nämda praxis. Dessa principer har sedan tillämpats på Financial Fair Play-reglerna.

I uppsatsen dras slutsatsen att Financial Fair Play-reglerna förmodligen skulle klara Wouters-testet och därmed inte utgöra en konkurrensbegränsning under Artikel 101(1) FEUF. På samma sätt skulle reglerna förmodligen vara objektivt försvarbara gällande den fria rörligheten för arbetstagare och därför vara förenliga med Artikel 45 FEUF. Om Financial Fair Play-reglerna inte skulle klara Wouters-testet så skulle de ha en god chans att möta kriterierna för det undantag som återfinns i Artikel 101(3) FEUF. Dock skulle de i så fall ändå inte vara förenliga med Artikel 45 FEUF. Vidare så bör Financial Fair Play-reglerna inte utgöra missbruk av en dominerande ställning under Artikel 102 FEUF. Det ska dock påpekas att man bör vara försiktig med att dra definitiva slutsatser i sådana här fall, eftersom förenligheten med EU-rätten gällande regler utfärdade av styrande sportorgan måste undersökas ifrån fall till fall, då ett proportionalitetstest är ett utav nyckelverktygen.

Trots att Financial Fair Play-reglerna troligtvis är förenliga med EU-rätten är det problematiskt att reglerna förmodligen inte kommer att förbättra konkurrensen mellan klubbarna. Förhoppningsvis kommer detta att åtgärdas i framtiden, till exempel genom att reglerna kompletteras med fler åtgärder. (Less)
Abstract
The governing body of European football, UEFA, recently adopted the Financial Fair play rules as part of the previously existing Club Licensing system. The core provision of the Financial Fair Play rules are the break-even requirement, which forces the European football clubs to live within their means.

The purpose of the thesis is to analyze whether the Financial Fair Play rules are compatible with EU law, especially the competition provisions, regulated in Articles 101 TFEU and 102 TFEU and the free movement of workers, regulated in Article 45 TFEU. In order to make this analyze, sport-related case law has been emphasized and thoroughly examined, since the principles of EU sports law can only be derived from said case law. These... (More)
The governing body of European football, UEFA, recently adopted the Financial Fair play rules as part of the previously existing Club Licensing system. The core provision of the Financial Fair Play rules are the break-even requirement, which forces the European football clubs to live within their means.

The purpose of the thesis is to analyze whether the Financial Fair Play rules are compatible with EU law, especially the competition provisions, regulated in Articles 101 TFEU and 102 TFEU and the free movement of workers, regulated in Article 45 TFEU. In order to make this analyze, sport-related case law has been emphasized and thoroughly examined, since the principles of EU sports law can only be derived from said case law. These principles have then been applied to the Financial Fair play rules.

The thesis concludes that the Financial Fair Play rules would probably pass the Wouters test and thereby they would not constitute a restrictive agreement within the meaning of Article 101(1) TFEU. Also, on the same merits, the rules would probably meet the objective justification grounds regarding free movement of workers and therefore be compatible with Article 45 TFEU. If the Financial Fair Play rules would not pass the Wouters test, they would have a good chance of gaining exemption under Article 101(3) TFEU but they would still be deemed incompatible with Article 45 TFEU. Furthermore, the Financial Fair Play rules are not likely to constitute abuse of a dominant position, and therefore they are not prohibited by Article 102 TFEU. However, the thesis also concludes that one should be vary of drawing definite conclusions in these matters, since the compatibility with EU law of rules issued by sport governing bodies must be examined on a case by case basis, with a proportionality test being one of the key features.

Even though the Financial Fair Play rules likely are considered to be compatible with EU law, it is problematic that they supposedly will not promote competitive balance. Hopefully, that issue will be addressed in the future, for example by complementing the rules with other measures. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Stroucken, Andreas LU
supervisor
organization
course
JURM01 20131
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
EU law, civil and criminal procedure, labour law
language
English
id
3814388
date added to LUP
2013-06-19 08:21:03
date last changed
2013-06-19 08:21:03
@misc{3814388,
  abstract     = {The governing body of European football, UEFA, recently adopted the Financial Fair play rules as part of the previously existing Club Licensing system. The core provision of the Financial Fair Play rules are the break-even requirement, which forces the European football clubs to live within their means.

The purpose of the thesis is to analyze whether the Financial Fair Play rules are compatible with EU law, especially the competition provisions, regulated in Articles 101 TFEU and 102 TFEU and the free movement of workers, regulated in Article 45 TFEU. In order to make this analyze, sport-related case law has been emphasized and thoroughly examined, since the principles of EU sports law can only be derived from said case law. These principles have then been applied to the Financial Fair play rules.

The thesis concludes that the Financial Fair Play rules would probably pass the Wouters test and thereby they would not constitute a restrictive agreement within the meaning of Article 101(1) TFEU. Also, on the same merits, the rules would probably meet the objective justification grounds regarding free movement of workers and therefore be compatible with Article 45 TFEU. If the Financial Fair Play rules would not pass the Wouters test, they would have a good chance of gaining exemption under Article 101(3) TFEU but they would still be deemed incompatible with Article 45 TFEU. Furthermore, the Financial Fair Play rules are not likely to constitute abuse of a dominant position, and therefore they are not prohibited by Article 102 TFEU. However, the thesis also concludes that one should be vary of drawing definite conclusions in these matters, since the compatibility with EU law of rules issued by sport governing bodies must be examined on a case by case basis, with a proportionality test being one of the key features.

Even though the Financial Fair Play rules likely are considered to be compatible with EU law, it is problematic that they supposedly will not promote competitive balance. Hopefully, that issue will be addressed in the future, for example by complementing the rules with other measures.},
  author       = {Stroucken, Andreas},
  keyword      = {EU law,civil and criminal procedure,labour law},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {UEFA Financial Fair Play: the savior of football or the road to the next Bosman-ruling?},
  year         = {2013},
}