Uefa's financial fair play rules face test from the 'Bosman' lawyer

Wealthy clubs will watch legal challenge driven by Jean-Louis Dupont with interest

Big-spending clubs opposed to the Uefa's financial fair play regulations were dealt an unexpected boost yesterday when an official challenge to the rules was lodged at the European Commission, in a case to be pursued by the Bosman case lawyer who dealt the governing body a major blow 18 years ago.

The complaint, lodged by Belgium-registered agent Daniel Striani, will force the Commission to mount a painstaking assessment of whether the Uefa President Michel Platini's FFP regime is an illegal restriction on his potential income. The Striani case does have potential to derail a system central to Platini's vision for the game.

Striani, who has represented a number of Premier League players, is represented by the lawyer Jean Louis-Dupont – who in 1995 defeated both Uefa and the Commission to prove that football's contract system denied Belgian player Jean-Marc Bosman freedom of movement. Dupont is ready to take his case to the European Court of Justice if necessary.

Legal specialists believe it may take five years for Striani's case to be dealt with. But European clubs, including Manchester City and Chelsea, will be watching with great interest a legal case which will be based in part on the assertion that FFP is unfair because it preserves the existing dominance of clubs like Manchester United and Arsenal by preventing newcomers to run-up losses while they break in. Dupont first revealed last month that he believed FFP, which has demanded clubs entering European competitions move towards break-even since 2011, was anti-competitive and open to legal challenge.

Uefa General Secretay, Gianni Infantino, was dismissive of Dupont's claim that FFP was legally questionable, when he was asked about it at the SoccerEx convention in Manchester last month. Infantino said that he and Michel Platini had visited Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, and received assurances about the new regime, which means clubs must operate within their means. "We are not worried about it," Infantino said of Dupont's suggestion. "First, because we have the best lawyers working for us. But also because FFP has been agreed by all of the clubs, associations and the European Commission. These haven't been imposed."

The European Club Association has, indeed, signed up to FFP – a reason why clubs are unable to mount legal challenges to the regime themselves. But that will not be enough to halt the Striani challenge. "This is significant," Daniel Geey, a competition and football law specialist at the firm Field Fisher Waterhouse, said last night. "The EC has always said in the background that it supports the objectives of FFP. Now it must undertake an objective assessment of whether, among other things, FFP is anti-competitive. The complaint will either be upheld, leading the Commission into negotiations with Uefa and possible formal proceedings, or be rejected which could lead to a further court challenge. Either way, this won't be a quick process and in the meantime Uefa will make licensing decisions based on the FFP break-even regulations."

Dupont will outline five effects of FFP which he claims are anti-competitive, claiming that the "break-even rule" will restrict investment in clubs; that it will entrench the existing status quo; reduce the number of transfers and therefore dampen salary levels of players. Ultimately he will argue that it will affect Striani's own income.

Kick-off 7.45pm

Referee P Dowd (Staffordshire)

Odds: Man City 2-5 Draw 9-2 WBA 9-1

Lukaku will be world-beater, says Kompany

The Manchester City captain, Vincent Kompany, is relishing the prospect of locking horns with his Belgian compatriot Romelu Lukaku when the Blues host West Bromwich tonight.

Lukaku, 19, has been in fine form following his season-long loan move from Chelsea to Albion, scoring 14 goals and earning a nomination for the PFA Young Player of the Year award.

Kompany said: "Romelu is probably one of the biggest talents in Europe at the moment. He will be a world-beater in England very soon. I am looking forward to playing against him."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence