“Legal Cases That Resulted in FIFA Implementing Regulatory Change: Why Sports Governing Bodies Cannot Ignore the Law”

The Business of Sport – Seminar Series

Lecture Theatre 2 (Basement), The Cruciform Building, University College London Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT

Wednesday 4th March 2009 at 6pm
(For directions click here)

“Legal Cases That Resulted in FIFA Implementing Regulatory Change: Why Sports Governing Bodies Cannot Ignore the Law”

Given by:

Juan de Dios Crespo, Ruiz Huerta & Crespo Lawyers (Spain), and Iusport; and Alfonso Valero, Nockolds Solicitors (UK) and Iusport.


The Bosman ruling, the Granada 74 affair, the Carlos Tevez saga and the Webster award all have one thing in common: as a consequence of a legal ruling or award, FIFA decided (or was forced) to change its regulations. This presentation will review those cases in order to provide an insight as to the merits of the judgements. Particular issues that will be considered include; why did the European Union (EU) find contrary to its rules the pre-Bosman transfer system; why did FIFA take particular exception to the apparent promotion of Granada 74, a Spanish third division club; why did FIFA introduce article 18b in its Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players; and finally, how could Andy Webster buy himself out of his contract? Critically, the presentation will illustrate how sport governing bodies, when considering changes to the regulatory environment for their sport, need to take account of how their regulations will be viewed in non-sporting law courts


Juan de Dios Crespo is one of the Partners of the Ruiz Huerta & Crespo, one of Spain’s leading law firms. He is one of Europe’s leading specialists in sports law and the application of EU law. Juan de Dios has been involved in several of the most important sports litigation cases of recent years (Rodríguez/Bueno; Granada 74; Webster). He is an Arbitrator of the Valencia Chamber of Commerce as well as in proceedings at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Court of Arbitration in Paris. He is also President of the Sports Law Section of the Valencia Bar and a regular speaker at legal and sports business seminars. He has published numerous legal papers.

Juan de Dios in conversation with FC Barcelona President Joan Laporta following Juan’s lecture to representatives of the 95 European Club Association (ECA) members and UEFA representatives at their meeting on 10th February in Geneva (Switzerland). The ECA, the official organisation representing major European football clubs (recognised as such by UEFA), invited Juan to its First Annual Conference to speak about the cancellation of the footballers’ contracts by virtue of Article 17 of the Regulations for the Status and Transfer of Players (“From Webster to Matuzalem and the future of Article 17”).

Alfonso Valero is a member of the Sports Department of Nockolds Solicitors and is the UK Editor of Iusport, a leading website focusing on current legal issues in sports. He has published numerous articles within the field. As well as sports law, he also practices as a cross border litigator in matters affecting England and Spain. He regularly attends conferences and gives seminars about sport.


For further details on this seminar series contact:

Sean Hamil
Department of Management
Birkbeck College
Malet Street

Tel: 020-7631 6763 or Email:

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