A historic day for football

Association football, that is. FIFA, the world governing body, has announced that it has reached agreement with FIFPro, the international players’ union, over a range of initiatives (NB FIFPro is a fairly weak organization and there is no equivalent of the exemption from antitrust law for collective bargaining which gives the American player unions such power). The most important of these seems to be an agreement to restrict the number of foreign players on a team. The proposed rule would be that at least 6 players on the field would have to be eligible to play for the national association. Now, either this is kite-flying, or there are serious moves afoot to change the legislative treatment of sport in the European Union. In 1995 the Bosman verdict of the European Court of Justice upheld the right of citizens of the EU to play anywhere inside the EU, rendering such restrictions unenforceable. There is an ongoing process organised by the sporting governing bodies, supported by several member states, to change the law. But overruling freedom of movement of labour would be a drastic step.

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Author: Stefan Szymanski

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