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UEFA Home-Grown Player Rule EU Law Challenge – Royal Antwerp FC V Royal Belgian FA

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Friday, 28 April 2023 By Rhodri Thompson KC, Ifeanyi Odogwu

EU law has played a leading role in the governance of football following the landmark Bosman ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).1

Almost 30 years later, another case – Royal Antwerp FC V Royal Belgian FA2 – has reached the CJEU, again involving rules applicable to the Belgian football leagues. The case concerns UEFA’s ‘Home Grown Player’ (HGP) rules, which require national teams to field a specified minimum number of “home-grown players”.3 The HGP rules were intended to strike a suitable balance between restrictions on free movement of players and the need to protect the integrity of sporting competition. The recent Opinion4of Advocate-General Szpunar in the Antwerp case revisits the debate on whether the UEFA rules are compatible with rights guaranteed by EU law. While this is only a provisional opinion and is subject to the final decision of the CJEU, it is a further indication of the complex relationship between EU law and rules governing national and international football.

This article examines the Antwerp case, looking at

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Written by

Rhodri Thompson KC

Rhodri Thompson KC

Rhodri, of Matrix Chambers, is a leading silk in public law and regulation, including competition law, telecoms law and all aspects of EU law. He is also a recommended silk in sports law.

Ifeanyi Odogwu

Ifeanyi Odogwu

Ifeanyi, barrister at Matrix Chambers, specialises in public law in the field of inquests and public inquiries (where he is consistently ranked as a leading junior by both Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners), civil claims, professional discipline and regulation, discrimination, and associated challenges by way of judicial review. He is also recommended by both Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners as a leading practitioner in sports law, where he has experience of arbitrations, disciplinary proceedings, and commercial disputes.

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