The first joint ECA - UEFA Legal Workshop was held this week at the Orange Vélodrome in Marseille. The event, exclusively organised for ECA Member Clubs, was set up with the aim of presenting and discussing the latest legal and regulatory developments affecting European football clubs at international level. Executives and legal representatives from 54 clubs across Europe were in attendance to share knowledge on a range of legal topics in the game.
President of host club Olympique de Marseille, Jacques-Henri Eyraud welcomed participants to the Orange Vélodrome and the city of Marseille by sharing a video demonstrating the strong relationship the club has with the local community. ECA Legal Advisory Panel (LAP) Chairman & Sevilla FC CEO, José María Cruz addressed the room and emphasised the importance of the workshop by declaring it 'essential for the wellbeing of football for clubs to be up to date with all developments from legal and regulatory stakeholders in the game'. He went on to praise the collaboration between both ECA and UEFA in jointly organising this 'unique event'.
Carlos Schneider, UEFA Disciplinary Lawyer, kicked off proceedings with a presentation on the key amendments to the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations. He stated that in order for regulations to be implemented and understood effectively, 'ECA needs to be a part of the conversation'. Chris Bonett, UEFA Integrity Officer, presented on the zero tolerance policy employed by the organisation with reference to match-fixing, and shared the UEFA's four pillars to fighting the issue: education, legal framework, monitoring/investigations, sanctions.
Michael Gerlinger, ECA Legal Advisory Panel Vice-Chairman & FC Bayern München Legal Director presented and encouraged discussion regarding recent CAS cases in football. This was followed by a presentation from Martin Bauer, UEFA Disciplinary Lawyer, who presented the decisions and implications from a recent CAS case on hooliganism in UEFA club competition, providing participants with an in-depth insight into recent CAS proceedings.
UEFA Head of Sports Legal Services, Jacques Bondallaz concluded the first day's session by detailing club and player eligibility in UEFA club competitions. He insisted that the best way in which UEFA can achieve their objective of regulating football competitions as effectively as possible is by 'working together with ECA Member Clubs'.
On the second day of the workshop, Alasdair Bell, UEFA General Counsel / Legal Affairs Director, followed on from a presentation by Andrew Mercer, UEFA Legal Counsel, on Financial Fair Play and Third-Party Ownership (TPO), by discussing the relationship these regulations have with regards to EU competition law. Daan de Jong, ECA Legal Counsel, gave a detailed lecture covering the most recent guidelines with regards to the registration of minors and advised clubs, in a practical manner, on the required steps in this process. Cesare Gabiaso, Juventus External Legal Counsel, addressed the issues with regards to the conflict between the regulations imposed on intermediaries from FIFA with those imposed by national associations.
ECA was pleased to welcome Omar Ongaro, Football Regulatory Director at FIFA, for a sit down Q&A session with club representatives. Discussions covered a variety of topics with a focus on the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players.
The two-day event concluded with breakout sessions as participants split into two groups depending on their interests or area of expertise. Professor Ian Blackshaw discussed the topic of commercial contracts, highlighting the key pitfalls of which clubs should be aware. Whilst, Jan Räker, Legal Director at VfB Stuttgart, shared expertise and experience concerning the topic of the financing of transfers.
Regarding the event, José María Cruz, Sevilla FC CEO stated:
"The ECA - UEFA Legal Workshop creates a great platform for clubs to get together to discuss the challenges faced by representatives in the legal department."
On the collaboration between ECA and UEFA, he said:
"Cooperation between the two organisations on events like this assist in strongly developing the relationship between clubs and the governing body in European football."
The ECA - UEFA Legal Workshop was a successful collaboration between two important stakeholders in European football. The exceptional content provided by distinguished speakers and attendees ensured that discussions were informative and all encompassing.
ECA thanks UEFA for its collaboration on this project and looks forward to continuing the ever-growing relationship.
ECA would like to extend its gratitude to Olympique de Marseille, which hosted participants for the official dinner on the evening of the first day of the workshop. The club's hospitality and cooperation over the two days was of an exceptional standard.
ECA would also like to thank the staff at the Orange Vélodrome for their support in holding the event.
Further information regarding future ECA Workshops will be communicated in due course.