A Belgian football agent has stepped up his legal challenge against UEFA
Daniel Striani is questioning the legality of Financial Fair Play rules
Financial Fair Play prevents football clubs from spending beyond their means
Striani is being assisted "Bosman rule" lawyer Jean-Louis Dupont
A Belgian football agent has stepped up his fight to prevent the sport’s lawmakers from limiting the spending power of clubs, suggesting teams should be allowed to control their own finances if they pay a “luxury tax.”
Daniel Striani is questioning the legality of the Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules implemented by UEFA, European football’s governing body.
Striani teamed up with Jean-Louis Dupont – the lawyer who in 1995 helped change European law and the freedom of football transfers in the landmark Bosman case – to lodge a complaint with the European Commission in May.
Now they have launched legal action in the Court of First Instance in Brussels, asking for it to “judge on alleged infringements of both EU competition law and the right to free movement (of workers, services and capital).”
The duo are challenging UEFA’s “break-even” rule, which dictates a football team cannot spend beyond its means. The regulation is supposed to ensure that bigger clubs do not gain an advantage by operating under huge debt guaranteed by wealthy owners.
Striani claims the rule is illegal under European Union law as it is “disproportionate.”
He is suggesting that overspending should be allowed with certain conditions, such as if teams agree to pay a “luxury tax” or if there is a change in how revenue is shared in UEFA club competitions.
“This latest legal process is supported by a growing body of economic and legal opinion which argues the UEFA rule is ineffective, illegal and disproportionate given alternative measures available,” read a statement released to CNN by Striani’s publicist on Thursday.
The European Commission process is ongoing, with a ruling expected in 2014.
Dupont was part of the legal team which represented Belgian player Jean-Marc Bosman, whose successful battle to switch clubs at the end of his contract with Standard Liege changed the face of the football transfer market. Players are now allowed to move on free transfers when their deals with clubs expire.
Striani works primarily with young, up-and-coming players. His two most high-profile clients are Yohan Benalouane at Parma in Italy and Denis Odoi at Belgian club Anderlecht.
Malaga became the first major team to fall foul of FFP after UEFA claimed the club owed wages to players and had debts with other football sides as well as the Spanish tax authorities.
UEFA hit the European Champions League quarterfinalists with a two-season ban from continental competition, which was later reduced to one season.
The Spanish club’s appeal against that punishment, which included a $400,000 fine, was rejected by the Court of Arbitration for Sport this month.