Monday, December 5, 2022

Lawyer Who Got The Bosman Ruling Is Now Guiding Relegated Teams In Their Bid For Relief In Belgium

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Broken Belgian Football Supporter
Musings about Belgian football mainly.

You might remember my last column where I was finally some bearer of good news. You should read my column published on the 6th of this month, which states that the Belgian Competition Authority’s ‘auditore’ (auditor) declared that the decision to relegate Waasland-Beveren constitutes an infringement of competition law. With this finding, the Auditorate will provide an analysis of the complaint and the requested interim measures and will also give its advice to the Competition Court.

As you can read on my earlier column, the auditore is clearly of the opinion that the decision to relegate Waasland Beveren ‘is a decision that has the effect of excluding a competitor and is, therefore, a decision to restrict competition’. Also, the auditore’s decision that Belgian football ending the season with places declared on PPG ‘is a decision that has the effect of excluding a competitor and is, therefore, a decision to restrict competition’. Basically, the fact that teams voted other teams out is an infringement on competition law.

Any update since then?

There was a general assembly planned for tomorrow, and there were a few rumours that it was called to perhaps decide on a new format for next year to overrule the earlier decision of ending the league with relegation. But it has now been delayed until the 29th of June. By then, there should be a ruling by the Belgian CAS and perhaps also by the Competition Authority (that case is for the 17th of this month, but a decision will take a while to be published).

There is a fun fact that was mentioned in a newspaper on Monday here in Belgium about someone who’s guiding the teams in the legal battle with his advice. This lawyer is helping Waasland-Beveren, Virton and Antwerp in the different complaints they filed against the FA.

Jean-Louis Dupont along with Luc Misson and Jean-Marc Bosman
Luxembourg, LUXEMBOURG: (FILES) Belgian soccer player Jean-Marc Bosman, flanked by two of his lawyers Luc Misson (R) and Jean-Louis Dupont (L) (AFP PHOTO BELGA FILES via GETTY Images)

You probably don’t recognise the person in the image (extreme left side), but it’s Jean-Louis Dupont, the person that has shaped how football works since 1995. He’s one of the lawyers behind the Bosman ruling in 1995 as the ruling of the European Court of Justice in December 1995 upheld the case brought by Jean-Marc Bosman against the European football authorities as a result of his failed transfer from a Belgian to a French club in 1990. The repercussions spread quickly through western European football as the European Union demanded that regulations concerning players’ transfers and limitations on foreign players be amended almost immediately.

And since then Dupont has guided players in different sports, teams and also FA’s from different countries in court cases about a lot of different rulings of the UEFA, FIFA, WADA etc. So this superstar lawyer is now ensuring that justice is done with regards to how the FA in Belgium simply ended the league without thinking of the consequences of an unjustified demotion.

Hopefully, justice will be had for everyone across the board, and signs are indeed great. With the French Supreme Administrative Court, Conseil d État having ruled that relegations from Ligue 1 for the 2019/20 campaign are BLOCKED, it seems more and more likely that federations across the globe will not get away with it. Let’s hope justice is found in Scotland as well.

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