Sep 20, 1995	The Bosman case (AP, Max Attar Feingold, Marc Andries, "pad")
Jan  9, 1996	Thoughts on Bosman - possible solutions (Andrew Wayne)
Feb 16, 1996	Some thoughts about the Bosman case (Ariel Mazzarelli, Andrew Wayne)
Nov 26, 1996	Serie A: Big guys, where are you? (Massa Sugano)

Subject: The Bosman case (long)
From: (Max Attar Feingold)
Date: Sep 20, 1995

 The follwing article was lifted from clari.sports.misc. Whatever copyright 
stuff I just infringed, well, they'll get over it:

        "LUXEMBOURG (AP) -- A lone soccer rebel moved a big step closer 
Wednesday to force the powers behind Europe's favorite sport into 
abolishing key rules that shackled players to their clubs and 
imposed limits on foreign players.  
        The advocate general of the European Union's highest court said 
the tradition of demanding transfers fees after a player's contract 
has expired violates European Union law.  
        The EU treaty ``prohibits a football club from being able to 
demand or receive payment of a sum of money when one of its players 
whose contract has expired is engaged by another club,'' Carl Otto 
Lenz, Advocate-General of the European Court of Justice, said.  
        He was just as brutal in dismissing another cornerstone of the 
game in Europe -- the limits on foreign players, originally set up 
to keep the rich clubs from monopolizing all the best talent.  
        ``The rules on foreign players are clearly discrimination by 
reason of nationality,'' Lenz wrote in his conclusions.  
        If Lenz's opinion is backed by the full European Court of 
Justice in a final ruling expected later this year, it would create 
a lucrative free-agent market of top players who could shop around 
for the best deal, whatever the former club wants.  
        It also could create rich, hugely successful teams that buy up 
as much foreign talent as possible and face no more restrictions to 
put them on the team.  
        The Court of Justice normally follows the opinion of the 
advocate general.  
        Barbara Nolan, a spokeswoman for the EU executive Commission in 
Brussels, declined to comment on the case. ``We'll await the final 
judgment of the court,'' she said.  
        Lenz's opinion was a boost for Jean-Marc Bosman, a Belgian 
player who was denied a move to the French club Dunkirk from FC 
Liege, Belgium, in 1990 after his contract expired. It reduced him 
to a choice between staying for a minimum wage of barely $1,000 a 
month gross or suspension. He sued instead.  
        ``I feel great. It was all we could hope for,'' Bosman said 
Wednesday. The 31-year-old is seeking $1 million in damages because 
his career nosedived after his transfer fell through. He also has 
to pay for his five-year legal challenge.  
        ``But let's wait. It's not the final judgment yet,'' Bosman 
        The opinion of the advocate general goes to the heart of the way 
UEFA, Europe's ruling soccer body, manages its business and a final 
ruling backing Bosman would send shockwaves through the sport.  
        The chief executive of England's Professional Football 
Association, Gordon Taylor, warned of ``major upheaval'' if Bosman 
wins his case.  
        It would rob clubs of income and assets from transfers while 
making players more independent in contract negotiations.  
        Lenz quoted figures showing English clubs made a profit of $14.6 
million in the 1992-93 season on transfer fees, while the transfer 
market totaled $79 million.  
        He said Italian clubs spent $65 million on transfer fees for 
this season alone.  
        Some of the money not spent between clubs would now go straight 
to the players, observers say.  
        ``It's only right that the players have the same opportunities 
and rights as other professions,'' Taylor said.  
        But UEFA has always said small clubs would suffer, lacking the 
income of selling raw talent to rich clubs.  
        Lenz said the wealth should be distributed in other ways, much 
like the UEFA Champions League system, which spreads profits 
        Lenz also went against UEFA's ``three-plus-two'' rule, which 
allows clubs to field three foreigners and two other non-nationals 
who have been playing in the country for several years.  
        That limit is the result of a gentleman's agreement between UEFA 
and the EU Commission. The latter has been careful not to crack its 
free trade whip over UEFA's head so as not to anger millions of 
European soccer fans.  
        Ending the ``three-plus-two'' rule would shake up European clubs 
competitions, UEFA argues and enable rich clubs to buy all the best 

 Good article, but there's a misconception involved, which I believe comes 
from the American attitude towards sports. UEFA appears in this article as the 
one true defender of unified soccer. However, and this is very important, UEFA 
is not European soccer. UEFA is a profit-oriented organization which organizes 
international competitions and establishes rules that its members obey under 
threat of expulsion. That's all. If UEFA disappeared, all the national leagues 
would continue just as usual, and so would the different EC's: the leagues 
would get together and that would be that.
 In sum: UEFA, like FIFA, are a bunch of greedy bastards who don't give a damn 
about soccer.

 In the Bosman case, there are two very different corollaries and two 
different problems.
 One, the possible abolishment transfer fee system, is not a serious problem. 
In Spain, for example, there are no such things as transfer fees. If a 
player's contract ends, then he is free. Players can also be bought by one 
team breaking a player's contract with another team, which can be done by an 
amount of money stiplated in the contract itself. As a result of these 
policies, there has been no loss of competitive balance in Spanish soccer. 
Rather, it has had an opposite effect. The amounts necessary for breaking a 
contract are becoming so high that transfers between Spanish teams are growing 
rarer and rarer.
 In any case, the transfer fee system is mostly used in international 
transfers; UEFA keeps a part of the money and that way it is beneficial to 
them. This is why they are fightng to keep the rule in place.

 And two, the foreigners rule. It may be discriminatory, but I think it is 
vital for it to be maintained, so the big European teams don't get too 
powerful for their own good. I think it would hurt soccer to abolish this 
rule. Here I am with UEFA. I don't see what Bosman's case has to do with the 
3+2 rule. Maybe somebody can explain this to me.

From:  (Marc Andries)
Subject: Re: The Bosman case (long)
Date: Sep 22, 1995

And there's one other thing I don't get on this matter.
I can understand that a European court has its say over the number
of foreigners a club (or any other enterprise) is allowed to *employ*
(which, as far as I know, is not limited by UEFA).
But how on earth can a court decide on the number of foreigners a club
is allowed to *field* during a game ?!
Where would this end then ? Next we'll have courts judging the size
of goals, the number of studs on a shoe, and the color of the corner flag!

Besides this legal aspect of the matter, I indeed believe that
abolishing the foreigners rule would be a Bad Thing (TM).
For instance, would Italian soccer fans still be interested in an
AC Milan vs. Inter Milan derby, if (just for example's sake)
AC Milan would field 11 Germans versus Inter fielding 11 Dutch players ?

Subject: Re: The Bosman case (long)
Date: Sep 24, 1995

Come on Marc, are you just trying to be deliberately naive or what!

Anyone with an ounce of common sense (and believe it or not, this
includes judges and lawyers) can see that the number of "foreign"
players allowed on a club team sheet has more than a little influence
on the number of "foreign" players that club is going to employ.

Your use of the word "foreigners" belies your misunderstanding of the
situation. As far as the European court is concerned, according to
the Treaty of Rome and subsequent reinforcing Treaties (ie
Maastricht), all persons within the EU are allowed to have free access
withour let or hinderance, direct or indirect, to the relevant job
marketplace, in this instance, professional football clubs.

Therefore Dennis Bergkamp is not a "foreign" player. He was born in
Amsterdam, he used to work in Milan and now he works in London. Paul
Ince is not a "foreign" player. He was born in London, he used to work
in Manchester and now he works in Milan. It is as simple as that.

Of course the judgement has ramifications for football but football
cannot divorce itself from the rest of the commercial environment. In
fact, in recent times it has been trying rather hard to become more

The judgement will only affect EU nationals. So Dejan Savicevic,
Andrei Kanchelskis etc. etc. are not included in the judgement and can
still be considered as "foreign" players.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

From:  (Marc Andries)
Subject: Re: The Bosman case (long)
Date: Sep 28, 1995

'My' use of the term "foreigner" belies nothing at all, since I use it
in the way suggested by the dictionary: 'person from another country',
and as far as I know, the EU is not yet considered a country...

And if you had carefully read my article (which I doubt you did), you would
have noticed that I explicitely do not question the EU's competence regarding
the access of players to "the relevant job marketplace", but regarding the
access of players to the soccer-pitch during the game! And yes, I do have
enough "common sense" to realize that these two matters "influence" one
another, but the issue of this thread is 'legal court decisions', and not
'what might possibly be the consequence of a court decision in real life'.

So my statement still stands that one should be careful in applying
`ordinary' laws to the rules of a game. Or do you also believe that the fact
that in most types of sport, a distinction is made between men and women is 
a violation of Human Rights, and hence should be forbidden ?

Subject: Re: The Bosman case (long)
Date: Sep 30, 1995

Firstly, I did read the article posted very carefully.

Secondly, you may be correct in your literal definition of a country
but unfortunately this is where the courts decision making process
parts company with the thread of your argument. The EU is viewed in
precisely that manner by the court, ie. as one homogeneous body, when
it comes to interpretation of the legal rules established through the
various treaties enacted by its member states.Therefore the court took
the view that the gentlemans agreement between UEFA and the European
Commision was not valid. Therefore I have to repeat that as far as the
court is concerned a player born in the EU is not a foreigner.

Thirdly your contention that there is a difference between players
under contract and players allowed on the team sheet obviously didn't
hold water either. The court must therefore take the view that there
is a direct linkage between these two factors. 

Lastly I apologise for the stupid remark at the preface of my original
reply. I must be becoming adicted to the act of flaming. I am only
informing you of how I think the court reached its verdict. Remember
that you are looking at soccer from the perspective of a sports fan,
the courts decision making process is based entirely on viewing soccer
as a commercial activity. I have to conclude that this is the root
cause of divided opinion about the efficacy of the courts decision.

From: (Andrew Wayne)
Subject: Thoughts on Bosman - possible solutions.
Date: Jan 9, 1996

Well, this is a bit late, I know. But as the whole thing has been 
reopened recently by UEFA and the English FA, I would like to put 
forward a couple of solutions.

Firstly, the easy one: On the matter of freedom of movement on the 
expiry of a contract (but only between teams in different European 
Union states), wouldn't it be possible to have players on one-year 
rolling contracts, such as are used in "big-business". 

This would be a one-year contract which is being permanently renewed
until one side decides to end it. This would provide many benefits - 
such as a little security for the young player just leaving the youth
scheme, but no long term guarantee. If the club thinks he isn't good 
enough, he will have a year in which to change professions; this is
much better for clubs than the "very-long-contract" for young players 
suggested by other people.

I can think of a couple of minor problems, but it seems to be much better 
than any of the other alternatives I've seen suggested.

The second point is about the foreigner limitations in club football: As
far as I know, the law is about restriction on earning money in any country
of the European Union. On the grounds that clubs can employ as many 
foreigners as they want to, but only play 3 of them at any one time, does
this not mean that EU restraint of trade laws are not being breached?
I'm probably wrong on this point, as somebody else must have put this 
argument forward. It just seems wrong.

From: (Andrew Wayne)
Subject: Re: Some thoughts about the Bosman case
Date: Feb 16, 1996

Ariel Mazzarelli wrote:
>So here we are kicking this thing around, and it seemed to me that some things
>ought to be said.

>2.We do NOT want to minimize the number of significant futbol teams (except 
>of course for the fact that Racing de Avellaneda is the greatest team in 
>the history of futbol).

Correct. The more professional teams that exist, the better. It provides a much
larger base, with a significantly enlarged possibilty of finding a great player.
We don't even want to lose Swindon (who aren't really significant to anyone
except Reading and Oxford fans).

>3.We want healthy competition, and in particular, we want to retain the
>possibility that a local club will germinate a futbol genius that will take
>his club to the top. We do NOT want either the future of our teams nor the
>competitiveness of our leagues to depend on the whims of
>temporarily-interested potentates.

Nor do we want the success of a team to depend solely on which has the richest 
benefactor. This is already the case the some extent (Silvio Berlusconi,
Agnelli family, John Hall and Jack Walker, to give four examples), but it's 
likely to get worse after Bosman.

>4.Executives are pigs and automatically not trusted. The exceptions shall have
>to demonstrate, by their actions, that they are exceptions.

True! An executive will most likely become an executive through dodgy deals, 
conniving and exploitation. 

>6.If anyone can be trusted with the fate of the game, it is the players; I'd
>say the fans (like us) instead, but we're not talented enough. Hence, futbol
>executives and referees should be recruited from the ranks of former players
>(sorry MLS). Pele, Maradona, Platini, Beckenbauer, Francescoli, and Lineker
>would make a good basis.

Whilst I agree, in principal, I think you could have picked a more appropriate
Argentinian (you have two World Cup winning teams to choose from) than one
of the two who have been shown to flout rules and regulations. I'm not sure
that somebody who has been banned for taking performance enhancing drugs
is an ideal member of any executive. 

>7.Fuck TV. In a few years, the monopoly over information distribution will
>cease to be, and so will the mindset that goes with it. No more games at high
>noon in 35 degree, 90% humidity weather, no more pay-per-view, no more
>blackouts, no more INANE commentary.

The main problem with TV revenues in this country is that the direct cash
from TV is what concerns the clubs. They fail to realise that if there is
a restricted, pay-per-view audience on TV, and it is too expensive to get
into the grounds, then new fans won't come in to the game. The lack of a 
large mass audience will also cut sponsorship and advertising revenue.

If the game gets mass exposure, then more fans will be encouraged to go to 
matches (particularly if it is affordable), advertising revenue will be 
higher, and even the basic greed of clubs will be sated.

>Futbol is a wonderful game. Let's take it back.

Basically: Well put Ariel.

Subject: The present situation in Serie A: Big guys, where are you?
From: Massa Sugano 
Date: Nov 26, 1996

After Sunday's games, we find Vicenza in first place with 20 
points, with Bologna and Inter lying second at 19 points.  Juventus is 
at 16 but has an easy home match against Udinese to catch up due to 
the Intercontinental Cup at Tokyo.  

     Napoli and Sampdoria join Juve at 16, while Milan lies a point 
further back at 15 together with Perugia and Roma.  As to Fiorentina, 
Parma, and Lazio, they have been left behind in the wrong half of the 

     What has perhaps been the most striking is the incredible surge 
of the so-called provincial teams at the expense of the more fancied 
formations like Parma and Lazio.  In fact, at the beginning of the 
season, experts and fans alike had been pronouncing a WIDENING of the 
gap between the Big Seven (Juve, Milan, Inter, Parma, Fiorentina, 
Lazio, Roma) and the rest.  Because of the Bosman effect, they (and I) 
said.  Well, the gap is in fact wide, but with the provincial teams on 

     Why did it happen?  Three theories are prominent.

     First, the Big Seven changed too much.  This definitely applies 
to Parma, which lost all resembelnce of harmony as old-timers such as 
Minotti, Zola, and of course, Scala, were brashly pushed aside.  28 
years-old president Stefano Tanzi (THE BRAT!), unlike his father 
Calisto, has this bad knack of throwing Parmalat money on exactly the 
wrong players.  This has been an ongoing problem for last season, when 
Parma got Hristo Stoichkov while unloading Tomas Brolin, the only 
Parma player with any resemblence of presence in its midfield.  This 
year, they spent almost $20 million for Chiesa, $7 million for Thuram, 
$5 million for Crespo, and many more for Ze Maria, Amaral, Bravo, 
Strada, etc.  Chiesa is good but not worth 80% of Ronaldo.  Thuram and 
Ze Maria, so far, has been the only ones producing.  The biggest 
problems for Parma, though, are the inexistence of world-class 
midfielders and the CRAPPINESS of coach Carlo Ancelotti.  Suffice to 
say that he used to be Sacchi's vice for the Azzuri.

     Roma sufferd the impact with Carlos Bianchi, although I 
personally approve of his tactics.  Milan discovered themselves 
without Cappello, and together with the absence of Baresi, found 
themselves with a sub-par defense.  It also exposed to the world that 
Paolo Maldini and Billy Costacurta had been two of the world's most 
overrated players.

     Secondly, the provincials got the good coaches.  Guidolin, 
Galeone, Eriksson, and Ulivieri seem to be more consistent than 
Tabarez, Bianchi, and Ancelotti.  Zeman is TOO consistent.  I suggest 
he take a Game Theory course at the Universita' di Roma.

     Thirdly, the players might sometimes be cheaper but better.  
Like, Andy Cole versus Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.  Like, Stan Collymore.  
Remember, Gigi Lentini?  Did I mention Cole?  Vicenza bought Di Carlo, 
Lopez, D'Ignazio, and Viviani when they were in Serie C1.  All four of 
them are still starters for the team.  Then they bought Ambrosetti, 
Sartor, and Otero for less than $2 million each.  Today, I hear Inter 
offered $5 million for Sartor (offer refused), Ambrosetti is set for a 
national-team debut, and Otero, well, is worth something like over $10 
million.  Most importantly, unlike some teams, Vicenza sells these 
young stars only a little at a time.  They wait until they get good 
successors.  That's why they sold only Bjorklund, and not Otero, at 
the end of last season.  

     Bologna, on the other hand, used the flip-side of the Bosman 
ruling to get off-loaded Big Seven players for free.  They obtained 
Marocchi, Shalimov, and Seno this way.  Of course, without Kennet 
Andersson, Bologna wouldn't be much.

     So, what about the prospect?  I still see the big names favored 
for the title, Juve and Inter foremost.  Realistically, Bologna is not 
a title contender, and Perugia would be extremely lucky if they made 
it to the UEFA Cup.  Samp and Napoli (the middle clubs) have no high 
ambitions either.  Parma and Lazio are no-hopers, and in the opinion 
of many astute fans, has been so since the beginning of the season.  
But keep watching out for Vicenza, after all they're the only team to 
have beaten the world champions this season.  The level of their 
players are inferior to only a few teams in Italy.  As for the 
scudetto, 35% Juve, 30% Inter, 20% Milan, 10% Vicenza, 3% Fiorentina, 
1% Roma, 1% all others, maybe.

[final Serie A standings:
1) Juventus 65, 2) Parma 63, 3) Inter 59, 4) Lazio 55, 5) Udinese 54, 
6) Sampdoria 53, 7) Bologna 49, 8) Vicenza 47, 9) Fiorentina 45, 
10) Atalanta 44, 11) Milan 43, 12) Roma 41, 13) Napoli 41, 14) Piacenza 37
relegated: 15) Cagliari 37, 16) Perugia 37, 17) Verona 27, 18) Reggiana 19

i.e. the top four spots went to "Big Seven" clubs]