|A senior legal adviser said Thursday that UEFA rules on homegrown players are partially incompatible with the European Union’s free movement laws, although quotas might be legitimate in order to develop and recruit youngsters.
Advocate General Maciej Szpunar said UEFA-backed quotas requiring teams to register a minimum number of players to be trained locally are “likely to create indirect discrimination” against players from other EU countries.
Advocate generals routinely provide legal guidance to the European Court of Justice. Their opinions aren’t binding on the Luxembourg-based court, but are followed in most cases.
“It is a fact of life that the younger a player is, the more likely it is that that player resides in his place of origin. It is therefore necessarily players from other member states who will be adversely affected by the contested rules,” the court said in a statement. “Though neutral in wording, the contested provisions place local players at an advantage over players from other member states.”
A judge in Belgium asked the European Union’s court in Luxembourg in 2021 to examine if the rules, designed to protect young local talents, comply with free movement of labor and competition law in the 27-nation bloc.