The legacy of Bosman

Antoine Duval & Ben van Rompuy editors 2016 Asser Press The Hague The Netherlands hardback pages 250 + ix Isbn 978-94-6265-119-7 price: €119, 59

This Book is a timely publication, coming twenty years after the seminal ruling by the European Court of Justice in December 1995 in the Bosman case, and looks at what Pro Dr Carl Otto Lenz, the Advocate General at the Court of Justice in the Bosman case, calls the “living legacy of the Bosman ruling.”

Through contributions by leading academics in Sports Law, the Book charts the effect that Bosman has had to date – and is still having – on various aspects of EU Law and Sport.

Amongst the wide-ranging effects of the Bosman ruling that are covered in the Book are: nationality-based playing quotas; players’ transfers; EU competition law and organisational rules; EU state aid and professional sport; and the European social dialogue.

Each Chapter of the Book is complemented by References to helpful additional reading and source materials.

In the final Chapter, Prof Stephen Weatherill of Somerville College, Oxford University, a well-known and distinguished expert on EU Law, sums up the effect of the Bosman ruling in the following terms:

Bosman did not change everything. It prompted and promoted further litigation and sport has certainly become a far more intensively juridicalised arena in the twenty years since Bosman. Bosman gave litigants the vocabulary needed to exploit EU law as a basis to lever open entrenched practices and perhaps it gave them the courage to suppose they could succeed. But the main reason for more aggressive engagement of law with sport has been the increasingly commercial dimension to sport, driven most of all by technological and regulatory change in the broadcasting sector. More money, more litigation: plus smart advocates, a bold court (and Commission), and perhaps some pointers from academics, though they would have to wait until Meca-Medina for the court to move more firmly away from the deceptive concept of the ‘purely sporting’ rule than it had been willing to do in Bosman……. Bosman started it all. But it certainly has not finished it.”

This Book is a welcome and useful addition to the literature on international sports law and the Editors and the Publishers are to be warmly congratulated on producing and publishing it. I am sure that it will deservedly enjoy a wide and appreciative readership.

Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw International Sports Lawyer