Football: European transfer ruling today

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The European Court of Justice today receives a preliminary opinion on whether the sport's lucrative transfer system violates European Union law. A final decision that it does could have a considerable impact on the game's future.

A German advocate-general of the Luxembourg-based court, Carl Otto Lenz, is due to give his opinion on a landmark case brought by Jean-Marc Bosman, a Belgian player. Bosman argues that the transfer system and restrictions affecting players moving across Europe are illegal and that professional footballers are entitled to the same freedom of movement as other EU workers.

A final judgement on the case is not expected before late November at the earliest. One legal source said that it could take up to six months for the court to make its final ruling on the matter.

If Bosman wins, the European Commission, the EU's executive, could fine Uefa, European football's governing body, and individual European national federations for breaching EU competition rules if they failed to comply with the ruling.

Bosman's case started in 1990 when a transfer from FC Liege to Dunkirk in France was blocked by the Belgian club.