(Corrects to say UEFA is in dispute with Royal Antwerp and a player, not two football clubs) By Foo Yun Chee BRUSSELS (Reuters) -UEFA’s home-grown player rules setting a quota of locally trained players at clubs are partially incompatible with EU rules, an adviser to Europe’s top court said on Thursday in a dispute between […]
UEFA home-grown rules partially incompatible with EU rules, EU court adviser says
(Corrects to say UEFA is in dispute with Royal Antwerp and a player, not two football clubs)
By Foo Yun Chee
BRUSSELS (Reuters) -UEFA’s home-grown player rules setting a quota of locally trained players at clubs are partially incompatible with EU rules, an adviser to Europe’s top court said on Thursday in a dispute between European soccer’s governing body and a Belgian club and a player.
UEFA’s home-grown player rules, which date back to the 2008/2009 season, set a quota of locally trained players at clubs but without any discrimination on nationality.
Royal Antwerp Football Club had argued that the rules hamper a professional club from recruiting and fielding players who do not meet the requirement of local or national roots.
It said the rules also reduce the chances for some players to be recruited and to be fielded in a match.
Royal Antwerp and the player took their grievances about UEFA and the Belgian soccer governing body URBSFA, which has similar rules, to a Belgian court which subsequently sought advice from the Luxembourg-based EU Court of Justice (CJEU).
CJEU Advocate General Maciej Szpunar said while the recruitment and training of young players must be accepted as legitimate, he had doubts about the general coherence of the contested provisions regarding the definition of a home-grown player.
“Systems in which home-grown players include not only those trained by the club at issue, but also those of other clubs in the same national league, are not compatible with free movement rules,” he wrote in an opinion.
“The contested provisions are not coherent and therefore not suitable for achieving the objective of training young players: home-grown players should not include players emanating from other clubs than the club in question.”
Judges, who follow four out of five such recommendations, will rule in the coming months.
The case is Case C-680/21 Royal Antwerp Football Club.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Nick Macfie)
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