The recent transfer of Zeki Fryers from Manchester United to Standard Liege and then to Tottenham Hotspur has focused the spotlight on compensation payments paid to clubs for developing young talent in football. It also highlighted an interesting issue on the disparity in compensation payments between international and domestic transfers. No one can argue that if a sports club invests its time, expertise and money in training a young player that they want to keep but who decides to leave, some form of compensation should be paid. FIFA and the Premier League have mechanics in place for training compensation but do other sports reward clubs who are successful in developing young players? This blog looks at recent transfers in the AVIVA Premiership (rugby union’s top division in England) and the system in place in rugby union.
I was away in France wanting to watch live Premier League (PL) football. Instead of venturing down to the local Irish pub, I tried to access the legitimate Canal+ channel, which I believe is a pay-TV channel, to watch the game. It appeared very difficult/impossible to view the match without buying a residential subscription. My next thought was whether I could pay a one-off price to view the game over the Internet on my iPad.
Stephen is a competition and EU specialist now a partner at Goodman Derrick LLP - first became involved in the application of law to sport when advising Newcastle United on the Bosman case . Since then, he has acted in a number of major regulatory and litigious matters in sports ranging from baseball to rugby union . Leading cases include the EU investigation of UEFA's collective selling arrangements,the original OFT investigation into the entry criteria of Premier Rugby and most recently the Bloodgate enquiry (where he acted for the club) and the successful quashing in the High Court of the life ban imposed on the physiotherapist involved in that incident. He has written and lectured extensively on the application of the law to sport and its associated industries.
Daniel advises clients in the football industry. Such guidance has included advice on the Fit and Proper Person Test, parachute payments and the football creditors rule, disclosure obligations under the relevant football authority's rules, conflicts of interest and third party player ownership contracts. Daniel has also provided guidance on UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations and how they may affect the future financial planning of football clubs. He has also given briefings and spoken at workshops and conferences on the interplay between Competition Law, Football and Broadcasting.
Benoît Keane is a leading European lawyer. He specialises in European law and European competition law in particular relating to the media and sports sectors. Benoît represents clients before the European Commission and European Courts.
Benoît Keane is a qualified solicitor (England & Wales) who specialises in European law and European competition law. He is an experienced adviser on a range of European legal matters to public authorities, companies, sports organisations, industry associations and media bodies. He regularly acts in cases before the European Commission and the European Court of Justice.
The General Court of the European Union recently rejected an appeal by the Luxembourg football club F91 Diddeleng against the decision of the European Commission to close an investigation concerning the player regulations of the Fédération luxembourgeoise de football (FLF). In an order of 16 April in Case T-341/10 F91 Diddeleng v. Commission, the General Court considered the appeal to be manifestly inadmissible.
The case is important as it demonstrates the limited procedural rights of complainants which bring free movement complaints to the Commission. In addition, it clarified that there is no requirement on the part of the Commission to investigate a matter under European competition law if this has not been properly raised by the complainant.
Increasing intervention by competition regulators and courts around the world in the sports industry means there is little doubt that competition law has a significant role to play in shaping sport policy and the sporting legal landscape in the future. Nowhere has this been felt more keenly than in Spain with football broadcasting rights.
The NBA takes the NFL’s lead
With expiry of the NBA CBA due at midnight on 30 June 2011, after hours of fruitless negotiations since the beginning of the year, in May the National Basketball Players Association (‘NBPA’) filed a complaint with the National Labour Relations Board (‘NLRB’) accusing the league of negotiating in bad faith by failing to provide critical financial data and repeatedly threatening to lockout the players.
How the NFL lockout arose
In the case of the NFL CBA drama the players made the first move on 11 March 2011 (seven days after the CBA had formally expired) by decertifying the NFLPA, essentially walking away from and dissolving the union. Here a further body came into the picture, the National Labour Relations Board ('NLRB').
It cannot have escaped the attention of sports fans on the East side of the Atlantic, even those who do not follow US sports, that both the National Football League (‘NFL’) and the National Basketball Association (‘NBA’) have spent much of 2011 in protracted legal wranglings between the respective leagues (specifically the team owners) and their players as regards Collective Bargaining Agreements ('CBAs').
The multi million pound sponsorship and naming rights deal just announced between Manchester City and Etihad Airways has raised the issue of clubs seeking ways to circumvent the Financial Fair Play Regulations (FFP), which are due to be phased in by UEFA during the 2011/2012 season. It also provides an interesting debate about the impact of Competition Laws on long term sponsorship deals.
APPLICATION for the annulment of the Commission’s decision of 1 August 2002 rejecting the complaint lodged by the applicants against the International Olympic Committee (IOC) seeking a declaration that certain rules adopted by the latter and implemented by the Fédération internationale de natation (FINA) and certain practices relating to doping control are incompatible with the Community rules on competition and freedom to provide services (Case COMP/38158 – Meca-Medina and Majcen/IOC).
For full case reference, here.
The news that most analysts expected was confirmed in the last few weeks as BSkyB (Sky) retained its broadcasting hold over the Premier League (PL) for the next three years.
By Alexandre Miguel Mestre, PLMJ - A. M. Pereira, Sáragga Leal
The decision making practice of the Commission and the case law of the EU regarding the application of EU Competition Law to sport lack consistency, coherence and legal certainty. The contradictions are twofold: (i) Contradictions within EU institutions and EU courts: (ii) Contradictions between EU institutions and EU courts.