An end to slave trading? Brussels court rejects Doyen appeal against FIFA’s TPO ban

December 16 – The Brussels Court of Appeal has dismissed Doyen and FC Seraing’s effort to overturn a ban on third-party ownership (TPO), ending the financing practice. FIFA welcomed the verdict.

Doyen and the Belgian club had appealed against FIFA’s new rules on TPO, but with the verdict the Brussels Court of Appeal confirmed previous judgments from CAS and the Swiss Federal Tribunal. FIFA had previously sanctioned FC Seraing for violations of  TPO and TPI rules.

In a statement FIFA’s  chief legal officer Emilio García said: “Once again, an independent court declares that there is no reason to doubt about the validity of FIFA’s rules on TPO and TPI under the applicable law. These FIFA rules are indispensable for preserving the independence of clubs and players and for ensuring the integrity of matches and competitions”.

In 2015, FIFA outlawed TPO to protect the integrity of the game. “We took a firm decision that TPO should be banned but it cannot be banned immediately there will be a transitional period,” said then FIFA president Jospeh Blatter.

The third-party investment model was most popular with agents, investors and clubs in Latin America, Spain and Portugal.

The Belgian club Seraing and the investment fund Doyen Sports disputed the ban on “the ownership of football players’ economic rights by third-party sources.” Seraing and Doyen were calling for stricter regulation of TPO rather than banning the entire practice. In 2015, FIFA had handed sanctions to Seraing for breaching the TPO rules, banning the Belgian club from registering new signings for the following three transfer windows. The plaintiffs asked the Appeals Court to review the ban within the framework of the four fundamental freedoms that the EU protects, and on the basis of European competition law.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1580331241labto1580331241ofdlr1580331241owedi1580331241sni@o1580331241fni1580331241