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Parliamentary questions
2 August 2005
Answer given by Mr Špidla on behalf of the Commission

The Court held in its judgment of 15 December 1995 in Case C-415/93, Bosman, and in subsequent judgments that professional football was clearly an economic activity to which the Treaty could apply. The Court held, inter alia, that transfer rules could ‘directly affect players access to the employment market in other Member States and are thus capable of impeding freedom of movement for workers, and that Article 39 (ex Article 48 of the EC Treaty) applies to rules laid down by sporting associations such as URBSFA, FIFA or UEFA, which determine the terms on which professional sportsmen can engage in gainful employment’. In fact, as Article 39 of the EC Treaty is a fundamental principle of the Treaty, ‘provisions which preclude or deter a national of a Member State from leaving his country of origin in order to exercise his right to freedom of movement therefore constitute an obstacle to that freedom even if they apply without regard to the nationality of the workers concerned’ (see also Case C‑10/90 Masgio v Bundesknappschaft [1991] ECR I-1119, paragraphs 18 and 19). The same considerations apply, in relation to Article 39 of the EC Treaty with regard to rules which impede the freedom of movement of nationals of one Member State wishing to engage in gainful employment in another Member State.

On 5 March 2001, the three Commissioners involved (Mrs Reding, Mrs Diamantopoulou and Mr Monti) met with FIFA and UEFA, as a result of which FIFA agreed to change its rules on the transfer of players. However, the transfer rules agreed did not preclude the payment of transfer fees for young players in line with the principle of compensation for training costs.

In this context, the rules relating to the transfer of players from one club to another within the same country could affect, in certain circumstances, the players’ right of free movement to another Member State, but this has to be examined concretely and on a case‑by‑case basis.

OJ C 299, 08/12/2006
Last updated: 31 May 2006Legal notice