24 September 2014 – Manchester City FC Supporters Club, representing thousands of City supporters, has joined the legal action by player agent Daniel Striani and individual football fans against UEFA’s Financial Fair Play.
The complaint was lodged with the European Commission and the Belgian courts in May 2013 and argued that the "requirement for break even" imposed by UEFA in its Financial Fair Play regulations contravenes European Union (EU) fundamental freedoms, including the right to free competition.
The Manchester City FC Supporters Club joins the action as consumers arguing that since the financial contribution of owners is now restricted, the economic pressure on supporters is expected to increase. They argue that fans will start paying more for, in effect, an inferior product.
In May the European Commission stated that it intends to dismiss the complaint (although it has yet to do this), explaining that the Belgian Court of First Instance is deemed well-placed to resolve the dispute. In so doing, the Commission provided a green light for the Belgian court to turn to the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) for a preliminary ruling. That could lead to the Belgian court nullifying the UEFA rule throughout the European Union on the basis of Article 101.2 of the Treaty on European Union.
The legal team is led by Belgian sports competition lawyer Jean-Louis Dupont who was part of the legal team that secured the Bosman ruling on player contracts in 1995.
For further information on the MCFC Supporters Club decision, please see below or go to https://mcfcsupportersclub.co.uk/2014/09/mcfcsc-statement-regarding-ffp/
MCFC Supporters Club Statement Regarding FFP
Press release following last night’s EC Meeting
24 September 2014
Manchester City FC Supporters Club was formed in 1949. Although we have strong links with MCFC, we are independent with an elected committee and have an agreed set of rules that are designed to help benefit our paid membership.
On 23 September 2014, MCFC Supporters Club (1949) voted unanimously to join the legal actions against FFP led by lawyers Dupont and Hissel (complaint to the European Commission and civil action in the Brussels’ Court).
These actions were initiated by some football players agents and fans from the UK, France and Belgium.
MCFC Supporters Club (1949) has almost 15,000 active members, with 168 branches worldwide covering the UK, Europe, Asia & America.
Our members are consumers of the football product and it is as such that they denounce the EU competition law infringements caused by the UEFA break-even requirement. Far from implementing a true “financial fair play”, this rule is in fact a prohibition to invest that prevents ambitious owners to develop their clubs, that therefore shields the established European elite from being challenged (this elite being unsurprisingly the main sponsors of the UEFA rule) and that, consequently, puts additional financial pressure on supporters (higher prices and lower quality).
With this UEFA rule, it is now almost impossible for any ambitious investor to take over a “sleeping giant” and to turn them into the next Manchester City or PSG.
In other words, the UEFA rule may be bad news for MCFC supporters, but it is even worse news for supporters of all clubs that do not today belong to the established European elite.