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Parliamentary questions
27 June 2006
Answer given by Mr Špidla on behalf of the Commission

The Commission understands the concern expressed by the Honourable Member on the need, for the Commission, to adopt a position on the Malta Football Association (MFA) rules related to the ‘home-grown’ players and their compatibility with Community law. However, the Commission would like to draw the attention of the Honourable Member to the following elements.

First, the Commission is of the view that this question cannot be only dealt with on a case-by-case basis and that it is necessary to look at it from a general perspective. This includes examining the rules proposed by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) on home-grown players and reviewing the situation in other Member States.

Second, the question of possible indirect discrimination, referred to in the Commission's reply to the Honourable Member's previous Written Question E‑0801/05, has to be carefully evaluated. Furthermore, this sensitive issue requires careful consideration in order to strike the right balance between the need to comply with Community law and the autonomy of sport organisations to set their own rules. The Nice Declaration of the European Council in 2000 also stresses the need to take into account the specific characteristics of sport and its social functions in Europe.

Third, comprehensive comparative information on football academies and ‘home-grown’ in the different Member States does not exist. For this reason, the Commission has decided to launch a study on sports academies in the Member States, including on the issue question of ‘home-grown’ players.

Finally, as already mentioned in the Commission's reply to the Honourable Member’s previous Written Question E‑0801/05, Article 39 of the EC Treaty on free movement of workers is of direct effect. Therefore, potential complainants have the possibility of referring their case to the competent national court to ensure that they benefit from the rights guaranteed by the Treaty.

OJ C 328, 30/12/2006
Last updated: 18 September 2006Legal notice