20 years of Bosman-judgment: what changed (and what not)?

Twenty years ago, it was Jean-Marc Bosman judgement. Something the Belgian ex-footballer still proudly fulfills, despite the high toll that he paid.

Jean-Marc Bosman in 2015, meanwhile, 51-year-old. © BELGAIMAGE

Jean-Marc Bosman is as modal midfielder at FC Liege end of contract in 1990 – he was then 26. The French FC Dunkerque wants him, but FC Liege demands a bank guarantee for the transfer fee and refuse the French. FC Liege refers Bosman with a minimumcontract to the invaders. The player tries to equal or to the Belgian football association, but who choose from custom party for the club. After a long judicial process is Bosman on 15 december 1995 by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg upheld.

The judgment put an end to it at that time in European football current transfer system. It consisted of two parts:

1. Players were now the freedom to to the end of their contract without a transfer charge of the club to change.

2. The limitation on the number of foreigners from the European Union that a club should draw up (the so-called 3+2 rule), was lifted.

What were the consequences?

1. The international mobility of players rose exponentially. That was not so much the consequence of the freedom of the eindecontractspeler as well as the prohibition on buitenlandersquota. With the issue of Jean-Marc Bosman had that last one actually has nothing to do.

2. After the first shock, having recovered, went to clubs the eindecontractvrijheid work around by players longer contracts to offer. Players could for the end of their contract can still be traded and the transfer market remained intact.

3. The wages of the players increased. Clubs argued that the elimination of the transfer fees money released to players to pay more. In practice, however, stayed the transfer fees retained (see point 2), making this short-sighted mismanagement to major financial problems leading to a lot of clubs.

Strictly speaking, therefore, was not Bosman, but a wrong reaction of the football world on the judgment, the cause of the inflation. Two events strengthened that effect in the next few years. The first was the European tv market is cleared, which is an explosion of the televisiegelden made. And from 1999 it was the half of the Champions League-prize pool is no longer divided on the basis of sports, but of economic criteria. Result: the rich clubs were getting richer and the wages of shots is now really through the ceiling.

Read the interview with Jean-Marc Bosman in Sport/Voetbalmagazine of Wednesday 9 december.

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