The Bosman Case Study
Sequence of events:
JUNE 1990: Jean-Marc Bosman gets into a dispute with his Belgian Club,
FC Liege. They reduce his salary by 60%. Bosman wanted to transfer
for the French club Dunkerque but his current club wanted a huge
transfer fee, Bosman was dropped by FC Leige.
AUGUST 1990: Bosman sues for damages against FC Liege and the Belgian
NOVERBER 1990: A Belgian court permits Bosman to transfer to the
French Club free of charge. The Belgian Football Association appeals.
MAY 1991: The Court of Appeal decides that Bosman has the right to
JANUARY 1992: Bosman returns to Belgian and his application for
unemployment benefit is rejected.
MARCH 1995: The appeal to UEFA (United European Football Association)
by FC Liege and the Belgian Association fails.
JUNE 1995: Bosman claimed 1 million dollar damages at the EU- tribunal
NOVEMBER 1995: UEFA issues an open protest letter in favour of
Bosman. FIFA (International Federation of Football Association)
The Football world before Bosman.
The Bosman case changed the nature of player’s transfers in the EU.
Prior to the Bosman saga, football clubs had considerable employment
control over their players. The players were registered with the
clubs, when a player was moving or transferring from club to another
it was the registration document that was exchanged between the clubs
involved. In most transfers a fee was demanded from the club which
held the registration document of the player concerned. The transfer
fee, and also the inability of players to move freely between
employers as and when the liked, marked them out as different from
many other sort of employees.
Until 1960’s players in England had to put in a transfer request if
they wanted to move clubs. If the club refused to allow a player to
move, the player would be tied to the club as long as his wages were
maintained at least to the level of his previous contract.
This type of ‘TRANSFER SYSTEM’ meant that the Employment lives of
players were CONTROLLED by the clubs. The knock on effect of this was
that the player’s mobility and wages was limited and Top players often
had to spend most of their careers home clubs which often experienced
However this was challenged and changed in the late 1960’s with the
help of a leading case of an English player ‘George Eastham (Eastham
Case). The facts of this case were that Eastham expressed a move to
‘Newcastle United’ from his club, ‘Ards’ in Northern Ireland. Despite
his repeated requests for transfer, the club simply refused his
request. Eastham eventually left the game after appealing to the
football league. Newcastle effectively owned him one year later.
Arsenal F.C and Newcastle...