Dr Ami Barav, who has been regularly advising and acting for FIFA in matters involving EU law, has obtained a favorable judgment from the Brussels Commercial Court on 17 November 2016.
The case which was brought by the Malta registered investment fund Doyen Sports and the 2nd division Belgian football club RFC Seraing,
Involved a challenge to FIFA’s prohibition on the so-called third party ownership of players’ economic rights (TPO).
Dismissing the application on jurisdictional grounds, the Brussels Commercial Court has held, following FIFA’s and UEFA’s submissions that, in pursuance of the revised Lugano Convention, Doyen’s application should be brought before the courts of the respective domicile of the football federations in Switzerland, whereas the application by RFC Seraing against these defendants should be brought before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, as prescribed by the Statutes and Regulations of FIFA, UEFA, the Union Royale Belge des Sociétés de Football Association (URBSFA)- to which the club is affiliated-, and the club itself.
The club’s application against the URBSFA should be brought, the Court held, before the Belgian Court of Arbitration for Sport (CBAS) in pursuance of the provisions in URBSFA’s Regulations and the club’s own Statutes, whereas the competent court -commercial or civil- to hear the application by Doyen (who is not subject to these provisions) against the URBSFA has been remitted for determination to the tribunal d’arrondissement.