European court set to study soccer’s homegrown player quotas

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Geneva, Oct.18 (BNA): A second soccer legal case is heading to the European Court of Justice, after the referral of the Super League clubs’ dispute with UEFA, reports AP.


A judge in Belgium has asked the European Union’s court in Luxembourg to examine if UEFA-backed homegrown player rules, designed to protect young local talents, comply with free movement of labor and competition law in the 27-nation bloc.


Rules shaped by UEFA since 2005 — with aims that include limiting wealthy clubs hoarding players from across Europe — and later applied in Belgium were challenged in that country as a restriction on recruitment and team selection options.


The referral decision was made on Friday by a judge in the French-speaking court of first instance in Brussels.

The case was started last year by Royal Antwerp and its then-player Lior Refaelov, an Israel international. It challenges the Belgian Football Association for setting quotas of homegrown players in a club’s first-team squad and matchday team list.


A Belgian club’s squad limit of 25 senior players over the age of 21 must include eight players who were developed in the country. At least six homegrown players must be among the starting lineup or substitutes for a game.