Hearing before the Grand Chamber of the CJEU in the case "Royal Antwerp FC v UEFA and Belgian Football Federation"

Judges' questions focus on the discriminatory nature of the rules on "home-grown players" - First Advocate General to deliver his Opinion on 9 March 2023.


On 15 November, the Court of Justice of the European Union, meeting as a Grand Chamber (15 judges, a configuration used for cases of particular importance), heard the parties in the case "Royal Antwerp FC v UEFA and the Belgian Football Federation" (case C-680/21). The hearing is now and for a short time available for streaming on the CJEU website ( https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/jcms/p1_1477137/fr/ ).

At the hearing on 15 November 2022, the CJEU judges and the First Advocate General put questions to the parties, in particular UEFA and the Belgian Football Federation.

More specifically, addressing UEFA, the CJEU questioned the relevance of the term "locally trained players", whereas, according to the judge-rapporteur, it is more a question of a "quasi-national" training condition since "locally trained" actually means trained in a given national federation, which is a priori problematic from the point of view of the right to free movement of workers. A Luxembourg player, living in Luxembourg, but trained in Thionville will be considered "locally" trained in Marseille, but not in Dudelange...

The First Advocate General has announced that he will deliver his conclusions on 9 March 2023.

Jean-Louis Dupont and Martin Hissel, counsels for Royal Antwerp FC, said "we believe that this hearing has enabled the judges of the CJEU to better understand how UEFA is a flawed regulator, whose DNA consists of keeping its national federations divided, and therefore ultimately also clubs and players, which is antinomic to the objective of "developing the European dimension of sport" as provided for in Article 165 TFEU. For the governance of sport in the EU, important deadlines are approaching: on 15 December 2022, Advocate General RANTOS will deliver his opinion in the ISU and Super League cases; on 9 March 2023, the first Advocate General of the CJEU will deliver his opinion in the present case. And the various judgments will be delivered on dates not yet fixed".

Source : CJUE