International event on 3rd-party player ownership

Latin American lawyers will speak alongside sports lawyers from South Africa and Europe on third-party ownership of players at ‘The Global Game: Ownership of Football Clubs & Players’, a World Sports Law Report event, sponsored by sports law specialist Clintons, on 25 September at the Selfridge Hotel in London. Such ownership contracts are commonplace in Latin America, but have caused widespread concern to national football organisations, clubs, fans and the media about who controls clubs and players.

The English Premier League’s Rule U18 bans clubs from entering contracts that allow third parties ‘to acquire the ability materially to influence its policies or the performance of its teams’. This created problems for West Ham United in signing Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano and for Everton in attempts to sign Manuel Fernandes, and has resulted in club executives, such as Manchester United Chief Executive, David Gill, suggesting that FIFA should clarify its rules on third party ownership of players.

However, FIFA has no rule expressly prohibiting third party ownership of players and in Latin American countries, third party ownership of players is common.

Miguel Remmer of Estudio Beccar Varela in Argentina, Jose Carlos Meirelles of Pinheiro Neto Advogados in Brazil and Agustin Mayer of Ferrere Abogados in Uruguay, will explain exactly how football transfers involving third parties work in practice. Michael Murphy of South African firm Garlicke & Bousfield Inc will highlight the issues surrounding the transfer of players from Africa into Europe, while a separate session will tackle Asian player transfer issues.

Essential to football transfers globally are football agents, who are becoming increasingly regulated by football’s governing bodies. The English Football Association has recently passed new regulations governing the use of player agents, and FIFA is to revise its player agent regulations by 1 January 2008. We will examine possible areas of conflict between the international and national regulation of player agents.

Concern has also been expressed over control of clubs and their finances, prompting the EPL and English Football League to defend their ‘fit and proper persons’ tests, which govern who can own a football club. UEFA’s Manager of Club Licensing, Andrea Traverso, will explain how UEFA’s Club Licensing System addresses these concerns.

For more information, visit www.e-comlaw.com/GlobalGame, or call Jit Jaswal on +44 (0)20 7012 1383 or email kamaljit.jaswal@e-comlaw.com.

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