logo-eui RSCAS

The Governance of European Football: Looking backwards, Looking forward

30 April 2013


The HLPS  discussed, assessed and reviewed the recent developments in European football governance. Looking at the path followed since the well-known Bosman in European Football the HLPS aimed to review the potential shortcomings and achievements of the reforms adopted, while also imagining new potential ways forward for European football governance.

In particular three panels addressed some key questions:

  • The new Financial Fair Play regulation of UEFA

The first panel on the UEFA ‘Financial Fair Play’ Regulations, adopted in 2010 with the support of the European Commission, will discuss the various implications of this  development. There is a need to assess both the legality as well as the economic desirability of these measures, in order to ensure its legal, and political, viability. What kind of tensions may emerge between the financial fair-play rules and EU law? What should guide the interpretation application of those rules? What may be needed to complement financial fair-play rules?

  • The Question of the Redistribution and Solidarity amongst Clubs

The second panel was dedicated to the sensitive issue of solidarity and redistribution among the various actors, especially the clubs, of the European football space. The “competitive balance” dimension was one of the key claims brought forward by UEFA in support of the transfer system in the Bosman case. The need for solidarity and for a competitive balance between the clubs was acknowledged by the ECJ, and its Advocate General. However, opinions diverge on the question of the means necessary to achieve such a legitimate aim. In fact, both the quota and the transfer system were deemed incompatible with EU law and so would be the 6+5 rule proposed (and since then abandoned) by the FIFA, at least if you follow the European Commission’s legal assessment. Hence, many practical questions arise: Are the training compensations provided by the new FIFA transfer system necessary and proportionate to enhance the solidarity? Is the new UEFA home-grown rule really compatible with EU law? Are there any other options available to governing bodies to strengthen solidarity and the competitive balance in European football? Finally, don’t financial fair play rules risk reinforcing the competitive gap? And what can be done about it?

  • The Legitimacy and Accountability of Football’s Governing Bodies

The third panel discussed the institutional reforms adopted to enhance the legitimacy of European football governing bodies. Involving, for example, the use of social dialogue in rulemaking, or the overture of governance institutions to new stakeholders. The panel also assessed the new accountability mechanisms put in place to enhance the quality of internal and external control mechanisms on football’s governing institutions. 


Newly released

Policy Brief 

European Football Governance: Looking Backward, Looking Forward
Petros C. Mavroidis, Antoine Duval and Mislav Mataija



Bobby Barnes, FIFPro Board member and Deputy Chief Executive, Professional Footballers Association

Stefano Bartolini, Director, Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, EUI

Alasdair Bell, Head, Legal Service, UEFA

Vincent Chaudel, Vice-President, Sport and Citizenship

José Narciso da Cunha Rodrigues, Chairman, Club Financial Control Body (CFCB), UEFA

Filippo Donati, Professor, University of Florence

Antoine Duval, EUI

Leonardo Ferrara, Professor, University of Florence

Pasquale Ferrara, Secretary-General, EUI

Mário Figueiredo, President, Portuguese Football League

Egon Franck, Professor, University of Zurich

David Frommer, International & Public Affairs Advisor, European  Club Association

Theodoros Giannikos, Legal Counsel, Olympiacos FC

Ulrich Haas, Arbitrator, Court of Arbitration for Sport

Umberto Lago, Professor, University of Bologna

Pierre Lanfranchi, Professor, De Montfort University and CIES

Mislav Mataija, EUI

Petros C. Mavroidis, Director Research Strand, Global Governance Programme, and Professor Law Department, EUI

José Carlos Oliveira, Legal Counsel, Portuguese Football League

Alex Phillips, Head of Strategic Affairs, UEFA

Dino Ruta, Professor, Bocconi University

Andrea Simoncini, Professor, University of Florence

Sven Steinmo, Professor, EUI

Antonio Stillitano, Sponsorship Manager, ACF Fiorentina

Giuseppe Telesca, EUI

Christiaan Timmermans, Vice-Chairman Club Financial Control Body (CFCB), UEFA

Andrea Traverso, Head, Financial Fair Play Unit, UEFA

Pedro Velazquez , Deputy Head of Unit, Directorate-General for Education and Culture, Sport Unit, European Commission

Stephen Weatherill, Professor, Oxford University


Leave a comment