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Financial Fair Play to face a legal challenge

The new regulations imposed by both UEFA and the Premier League are about to be challenged by the same lawyer that won the Bosman case in 1995

Stanley Chou

UEFA introduced their Financial Fair Play regulations several years ago in order to help clubs that couldn't control themselves avoid outspending their means, and the vast majority of clubs throughout Europe seemed to be in favor of the measures. It only seemed a matter of time until a player or agent decided to challenge the rule in a court of law though, as there were legitimate questions about whether or not the regulations actually complied with EU law.

Today, news has broken that agent Daniel Striani will be doing just that. The Belgian has hired attorney Jean-Louis Dupont to represent him, notable because Dupont was the same attorney that successfully represented Jean-Marc Bosman back in 1995.

Dupont has argued for several months now that the FFP regulations are actually illegal, and will now have his chance to make his argument in front of a court. Should he be successful, it would have fairly major repercussions throughout the sport. From a Chelsea perspective, that could be fun, as we know Roman has bags of money hiding in his pillow cases. He has a big yacht with lots of beds, and I'd imagine that means he has lots of pillows.

It will be interesting to watch how this impacts the first round of punishments from UEFA for teams that don't comply. With the legal process likely to take quite a while, I'd be surprised if they were able to enforce a ban on a club before the entire process was concluded. That should be great news for clubs like PSG and Manchester City, and might even give ourselves a bit of wiggle room as we are probably very close to the acceptable deviation.

While Striani doesn't appear to be challenging the new Premier League ruling, it would seem logical that this case will set a precedence for any future challenges there as well. If he succeeds in getting UEFA's regulations deemed illegal, it would seem to be a formality to have the English system thrown out as well.

From a personal standpoint, I've really been hoping that these rules would face a legal challenge, as they were very poorly put together from the start. I'd love to see more competitive balance in the sport, but like Dupont, I think greater revenue sharing is a better way to accomplish that than simply stopping owners from investing their personal funds. Giving poor clubs more money will always do more in that regard than telling rich clubs not to spend, and there would likely be no challenge to the legality of doing that either.

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