On 21 June, a Luxembourg based football club, FC Swift Hesperange, filed a request for preliminary ruling from the CJEU via a local court in Luxembourg.
The request claims that certain UEFA statutes and those of Luxembourg Football Federation (FLF), contravene EU laws as contained in the treaties such as the fundamental rights to free movement and free competition. Against this backdrop, the Football Club asked for a preliminary ruling – via a local Luxembourg court – in which it seeks for an interpretation of EU law to UEFA and FLF rules and statutes.
In particular, the questions on EU law applicability on alleged UEFA and FLF monopolistic rules is informed by the following:
- UEFA and FLF rules that restrict transnational competitions overseen by clubs. The plaintiffs subsequently question the legality of this rule, which they deem as a restriction of competition (Article 101) and as an abuse of a dominant position (Article 102 TFEU) as well as creating unjustified obstacles to the freedom to provide services (Article 56 TFEU).
- UEFA and FLF rules placing quotas for “home grown” or “locally trained” players both at European level and in Luxembourg respectively. Subsequently, the justification of these rules is questioned under Article 101 TFEU on free competition and Article 45 on free movement of workers.
- FLF rules prohibiting players returning to Luxembourg from signing up with all potential employers, save for the one who was the employer before the worker concerned exercised his right to free movement by leaving Luxembourg and signing up with an employer in another Member State. This rule is subsequently questioned in regard to Article 45 TFEU, guaranteeing free movement of players.
- FLF statutes prohibiting clubs from forming commercial companies. Subsequently, this is questioned in the light of Article 63 TFEU in which the movement of capital is guaranteed and also in the light of Article 101 TFEU by which restriction of investments is prohibited.
As such, the EOC EU Office will keep you informed on whether the CJEU proceeds to accept the request for a preliminary ruling given that the case carries connotations and overtones that are consistent with the European Super League case currently being dealt with.