A Belgian court has decided that FIFA and the Belgian FA infringed EU legislation protecting the freedom of movement of employment by obstructing a proposed move by Lassana Diarra to RSC Charleroi.
FIFA had made statements to the effect that under FIFA Statutes a club signing the player may be held jointly responsible with the player for meeting a €10m claim for the player’s breach of contract with his former club Lokomotiv Moscow.
As a result, RSC Charleroi pulled out of a deal to sign the player, who missed playing the whole of the 2014-15 season, losing an estimated €6m in earnings.
The court held that Art.17.2 of the FIFA Statutes which holds a player’s new club jointly liable for damages for the player’s breach of contract with a prior club is contrary to EU law.
In addition, the court rejected FIFA’s claim that CAS had exclusive jurisdiction over such matters and that a player cannot be denied access to the civil courts.
Although an appeal is expected, the case has far-reaching consequences not just for football, but all sporting federations.
Watch this space.