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Legal challenge launched against financial fair play

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The long anticipated legal challenge against Uefa's financial fair play rules has been launched, not by a club, but by an agent who is being represented by Jean-Louis Dupont, the lawyer who secured the Bosman ruling that revolutionised European football.

Belgian player agent Mr Daniel Striani is complaining that the Uefa rules infringe fundamental principles of EU law. In particular, the complaint challenges the restrictions imposed by the 'break even' rule which is central to the financial fair play rules.

It is being argued that the rule restricts competition by affecting investments; fossilizing the existing market structure; reducing the number of transfers; decreasing player salaries; and hence reducing the income of players' agents.

It is also argued that the regulations break EU fundamental freedoms on the free movement of capital, workers (players) and services (agents). It is also argued that the break even rule is not able to efficiently achieve its objectives. It is also contended that even if the restraint is justifiable, it is not proportionate. The European Commission is requested to strike down the break even rule.

Sports lawyer Daniel Geey has been tweeting that the complaint will have to overcome a number of legal obstacles in order to succeed.

For all the talk of fairness, the effect of the Uefa rules is to shore up the competitive position of existing big clubs and make it difficult for other clubs to break into what some claim is a cartel.